The resemblance was striking. The long, stringy, platinum blond hair. The gleaming forehead and gravity-defying cheeks. The skin as taut as a drum. Fredric Brandt apparently recognized himself in Dr. Grant, a fictional character on the popular Netflix TV comedy show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” And the parody helped drive him to despair.
On Sunday morning, Brandt hanged himself in his Miami mansion. The pioneering dermatologist, who kept celebrities like Madonna looking forever young, was 65.There may be notes left behind, or “signs” rationalized in retrospect, or things we know that were upsetting that person, but ultimately the choice to take one’s own life belongs to the person who—in that moment—takes it. For a show that has been surfing such a wave of audience and critical goodwill, Brandt’s upset at its mockery, and now his suicide, is an aberration.
I left the clinic with Brandt darting into the next room down that long, narrow corridor, his voice trilling to the unseen patient, “How are you? What are we doing today?”
Short’s depiction did not trigger Brandt’s suicide, but “the show didn’t help,” Brandt’s longtime publicist, Jacquie Tractenberg, told the Herald.A Netflix spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Brandt was found hanged in the garage of his Miami mansion on Sunday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the police report. The character in question, Dr Franff, had a high-pitched laugh, a speech impediment and absurd habits like drinking from a surgical bag. His face appears to be a grotesque exaggeration of Brandt’s own appearance.