Dr. Arnold Klein (pictured), the once-upon-a-time “it” dermatologist of the rich and famous, is now facing bankruptcy and is under investigation by the California State Medical Board.
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The good doctor had patients, such as Michael Jackson and Liz Taylor, that were the absolute envy of many in his profession. But how times have changed. Due to his legal and financial troubles, Dr. Klein has reportedly resorted to auctioning off memorabilia from those very same patients who helped put him on the map.
Bonhams & Butterfields, one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world, is offering hundreds of items from Dr. Klein’s collection, including a “Princess Leia” wig that Carrie Fisher wore to a party (worth $200), the hat that covered Michael Jackson’s head when he left a hospital burn unit (worth $10,000), and an invitation to Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth wedding (worth $350).
Before his mishaps, Dr. Klein, 66, lived like his A-list clientele. The doctor’s office was a place of pomp and circumstance with such pricey touches as $1 million art from Andy Warhol. Dr. Klein lived lavishly in three multimillion-dollar homes that were more like palaces, with each painstakingly decorated with the finest furnishings and artwork valued at $7.2 million. He hobknobbed with the best of them, took lavishly decadent vacations, got chauffered around in his fleet of creme-de-la-creme vehicles, and had his meals prepared by personal top chefs. At his peak, Dr. Klein made as much as $25,000 per day, which came mostly from cosmetic procedures, such as botox and lip augmentations.
But by the time Jackson passed away in 2009, Dr. Klein’s practice had already begun to dissolve due to allegations that he had made the pop king dependent on the drug demerol. Dr. Klein also went public with Jackson’s medical information and sex life, which should have been kept confidential. As a result of all of the hoopla surrounding Dr. Klein’s unprofessional public displays, his clientele began to fall by the wayside and he soon found himself being hounded by creditors. The Los Angeles Times even recently reported that actress Carrie Fisher, one of his few remaining true blues, had to loan Dr. Klein $150,000 so that he could hire a bankruptcy attorney.
Now, all of Dr. Klein’s homes are being sold off, and according to his bankruptcy filing, he owes $12 million in debts. The Bonhams & Butterfields auction of the “Collection of Dr. Arnold Klein” will take place on January 23 in Los Angeles.