This Doctor Will See You Now (if You’re a Star With a Pimple)

In the entertainment industry — now, as always — who one knows is of substantially greater relevance than what, a truth extending to the agent who selects your scripts and the trainer who tones your thighs and the dentist who bleaches your teeth.

“There is a real mafia” of caretakers charged with the maintenance of boldfaced deities, said John Goldwyn, a film and television producer whose industry lineage qualifies him for that rarefied elite known here as Hollywood royalty.

If at the pinnacle of this aristocracy are people named Huston, Barrymore or Goldwyn, at a minor step down stands a person like Dr. Kopelson, who was raised in Beverly Hills and on the sets of the 29 movies produced by his father, Arnold Kopelson, and his mother, Anne. Between them, the two have made films that have garnered 17 Oscar nominations (and a win, in 1987, with Oliver Stone’s “Platoon”). Even now, at 82, Mr. Kopelson has enough industry heft to command a view table at the Tower Bar — that is, provided Jennifer Aniston doesn’t get there first.


From left: Arnold Kopelson (the father of Dr. Kopelson), Dustin Hoffman and Oliver Stone at the Academy Awards in 1987, when “Platoon,” which Mr. Kopelson produced, won the best picture award.

Ron Galella/WireImage

“My father still refuses to understand why she gets a better table than he does,” Dr. Kopelson said.

On a cold, drizzly evening, Dimitri Dimitrov, the beloved maître d’hôtel at the Tower Bar, greeted Dr. Kopelson in so fawning and grateful a way that, as the producer Brian Grazer once noted, it is impossible to thank him last.

Shown to an alcove table, the physician had a ringside seat on a room full of well-toned faces — some identifiable to anyone, some recognizable mostly to show business cognoscenti, a certain number familiar to Dr. Kopelson at an intimate and even microscopic level.

There was a former cinematic superhero whose recent career comeback owes much to his miraculous state of preservation. There was a bulldog Hollywood divorce lawyer with runway-model looks. There was a studio head and a B-list actress and an Academy Award-winning director and a rubber-faced comedian who specializes in angst.

What unified these people, beyond their obvious business connections, is how fresh they all appeared, how unlined and dewy, as if each had just awakened from a restorative nap.

“I can’t ethically tell you who I treat,” Dr. Kopelson said as he surveyed the room.

Yet his client list is sufficiently stellar that some here refer to him as the next big celebrity dermatologist, the likely successor to the late Dr. Arnold Klein, a publicity-loving physician best known for having treated Michael Jackson, or Dr. Fredric Brandt, the Manhattan dermatologist to whom Dr. Kopelson often lent his Beverly Hills office whenever Madonna summoned…

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