Did the Netflix show “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” break Dr. Frederic Brandt, the famed dermatologist?
In April, the 65-year-old Brandt killed himself in his Miami, Florida, mansion. As a well-liked dermatologist for numerous stars, his sudden death shocked many, reports NY Daily News.
While the doctor had previously suffered depression, many quickly speculated that the Netflix show “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” may have played a factor in his death.
In March, a month before Brandt hanged himself, Netflix debuted the Tina Fey-produced show “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which featured a look-alike of Brandt. The character, a plastic surgeon named Dr. Franff and played by Martin Short, had platinum blond hair and a face plumped with Botox — much like the real-life doctor.
While the character was intended as a parody, Brandt reportedly grew distraught after reading in a tabloid about the caricature of himself. According to Vanity Fair writer Lili Anolik, her husband, Rob, who worked under the famed doctor, received a text from Brandt two weeks before his death.
“Did u see page 6 I’m so upset I’m a freak,” the dermatologist texted in late March, documents NY Daily News.
Although the show may have greatly hurt Brandt, Anolik contends the caricature was not the only factor leading to the doctor’s suicide.
“If the show did, in fact, push him over the edge, that could only be because he had one foot and four toes curled over it already,” she wrote in a recent Vanity Fair article. The writer explained that Brandt struggled with isolation — he had lost his parents at a young age, and was also estranged from his brother.
A publicist for Brandt also wanted to disperse the rumors that “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” led to the doctor killing himself. "The show was not the reason for his depression, and it was not the reason he would take his own life," the publicist stated, reports NY Daily News.