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The tragic death of a brilliant dermatologist - a gay man in his 60s

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I found it painful to read this article. As a teenager, through no fault of my own, I had really bad skin problems. Nobody will ever know how devastating it can be. It very nearly destroyed me. I did contemplate suicide several times because of it. This article is about the life story of a gay man in his 60s who spent his entire life making everybody else look great but could not find acceptance or romance - his last relationship was when he was in his 20s or 30s. It ended in tragedy. May he Rest In Peace.

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Earlier today, I stumbled across the lyrics of Rogers' and Hammerstein's "Pore Jud is Daid", which describes (and mocks) the romantic appeal of suicide and ends with the prosaic reality.




Then the preacher'd get up and he'd say

"Folks, we are gathered here to mourn and groan over our brother Jud Fry

Who hung hisself up by a rope in the smokehouse"

And then there'd be weepin' an' wailin' --- from some of those women ---

Then he'd say, "Jud was the most misunderstood man in this territory

People used to think he was a mean ugly fella and called him a dirty skunk/and an ornery pig stealer


But the folks that really knowed him

Knowed that beneath them two dirty shirts he always wore/There beat a heart as big as all outdoors


Jud Fry loved his fellow man /He loved the birds of the forest/And the beasts of the fields/He loved the mice and the vermin in the barn/

And he treated the rats like equals (which was right)/He loved all the little children/He loved everything and everybody in the world/

Only . . . only he never let on/And nobody ever knowed it


Poor Jud is dead/A candle lights his head/He's layin' in a coffin made of wood

And folks are feelin' sad/'Cuz they used to treat him bad

And now they know their friend has gone for good


Poor Jud is dead/A candle lights his head

He's lookin' oh so purty and so nice

He looks like he's asleep/It's a shame that he won't keep

But it's summer and we're runnin' out a' ice

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This article makes it seem as though he chose to lead a professional life of indulging the superficial beauty delusions of the superrich, He amused them yet they rebuked him. He failed at love and then gave up. Ultimately, it seems he failed at life in some essential way and he gave up there too.

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He may have failed at love; the NYT article said that he liked dating younger men but found the process frustrating. But he did not fail at life. He made a number of contributions to his field, specifically to the understanding of the aging process and how to slow it down.


True, no one's looks can last forever. But if technology can make people look younger or more better, why criticize those that wish to take advantage of it, even if you don't? It goes beyond vanity: An attractive and vibrant appearance can be important for professional advancement--even in fields where you wouldn't expect it. For example, employees of prestigious NY law firms have noted online that back-office junior people (document reviewers ) are less attractive than associates who interface with clients. There are a number of famous academic papers that show that employers regard attractive people more favorably.


Also, what is so special about plastic surgery, lasers, and so on? Why is paying for laser treatment to keep one's pores clean any different from hiring a personal trainer or using Retin A?


It's unclear what you mean by "delusions," but the people who hired him would not have stuck around if his treatments were ineffective or harmful. Many beauty editors, including Linda Wells of Allure, were his patients. (Beauty editors are known for being very discerning about cosmetics, hair, anything related to beauty.) Per Wikipedia, Wells graduated college in 1976, so she is around 61. Here's a picture taken a few months ago. She may not be Christy Brinkley, but she looks better than many women a decade younger.


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And just to be clear, my statement started with "This article makes is seem as though...." I offered no opinion on him as the extent of my knowledge of him is limited to the article. However, I do believe that a man who is found hanged in garage has failed at life in some essential way, though that does not mean he did not have some successes. Even failing students get some answers right.

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I believe photo clarifies what I mean by delusionsjocelyn-4.jpg


I believe this picture is of Jocelyn Wildenstein, a New York socialite. It is not clear to me that she was a patient of Dr. Brandt. Her features are the result of massive and frequent plastic surgeries. I don't think that invasive skin treatments can make anybody look quite like her. This is plastic surgery taken to an extreme.

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Quoting the article: He kept saying, ‘I can’t believe she invited me because when I go out they make believe they don’t know me,’ ” Ms. Barkin said in an interview last week.


Dr. Brandt accomplished great results for his celebrity clients and made them feel great about themselves. Yet it seems, in public, they treated him like he didn't exist. It makes me think that this is similar to what a great escort does. Would the celebrity clients, in a public setting, acknowledge an escort they hired?

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Thanks for sharing this article with us. I feel bad that Dr. Brandt could do so many wonderful things for so many people, and yet be all alone when he took his own life. There is a message here for all of us... no matter how georgeous you may be, or how ugly to some, make friends and keep them close throughout your life. Live life, love life and find peace with whom you are and others will see that beauty and enjoy you too, not for what you are not, but for what you are!


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Guest Starbuck

I read Dr. Brandt's story--and looked at the pictures--in The New York Times today and I kept thinking of Michael Jackson. Some people, no matter their gifts, are too fragile for this world. They endure it as long as they can and, when they're gone, we finally wonder how long they were dying.


A cautionary reminder to those of us who have ever known what it's like to feel different or apart, yet forget to be kind to others trying to walk in those heavy shoes.


And all praise to those who feel different or apart, but somehow accept, embrace, even celebrate their uniqueness. That's a special combination of grace and strength.

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Wildestein's look was intentional; she was obsessed with looking like a cat.She thought this would please her then-husband, art dealer Alec Wildestein, who bred lions in Kenya. Here's an article about her.



The reason his patients were shunning him in public had nothing to do with him or his relationship with those patients, it was all about the patients not wanting others to know they had had work done.


Exactly. This happens to any professional who does procedures that are considered taboo. That includes anyone from hair replacement surgeons to doctors who remove tattoos. Mid-century beauty parlors used to have curtains on the windows because women didn't want to be seen getting perms.

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