In an episode of Tina Fey’s Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski visit a plastic surgeon played by Martin Short. In an obvious parody of plastic surgery-obsessed people, Short’s character has an improbably smooth and ageless face, a curtain of equally smooth blond hair, references eating his children’s placentas, and offers to help Kimmy replace her entire face. It was, by most accounts, pretty funny. Well, it was, at least until we found out he was based on a real guy— celebrity dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt—who was found dead earlier today.
Brandt, whose famous clients included Madonna and model Stephanie Seymour, was apparently known for practicing experimental plastic surgery techniques on himself. His publicist confirmed his death to Page Six, saying, “He was suffering from an illness. Everyone who knows him is devastated…not only was he a brilliant doctor, be he was the kindest human being.” Brandt reportedly killed himself at his home in Florida.
Now, making matters worse, his resemblance to Short’s Kimmy Schmidt character is very hard to deny, and that fact wasn’t lost on Brandt. According to tweets from a writer for the Miami Herald (via Gawker), Brandt was “devastated” by the impersonation. Also, his publicist told Page Six that the show “deeply hurt him,” as “he was being made fun of because of the way he looks.” However, despite referring to the show as “mean” and “bullying,” she did acknowledge that Kimmy Schmidt “was not the reason for [Brandt’s] depression, and it was not the reason he would take his own life.”