Michael Jackson with Jane Fonda in 1983. The red “butterfly” rash associated with lupus is clearly visible on Michael’s cheeks.
On July 8, 2009, Michael Jackson’s dermatologist of 25 years, Dr. Arnie Klein, appeared on Larry King Live. Among the topics of discussion included Michael’s affliction with vitiligo, lupus erythematosus, and chronic pain; as well as the subjects of plastic surgery and body dysmorphic disorder.
A full transcript of the program can be found here. I have chosen to directly excerpt the passages specifically relating to Michael’s health.
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Michael Jackson’s Doctor
Aired July 8, 2009 – 21:00 ET
LARRY KING, HOST: The saga the death of Michael Jackson continues. And we welcome a very special guest tonight. Dr. Arnie Klein, they call him the dermatologist to the stars, easily the best known dermatologist in Southern California, maybe elsewhere, too. He’s Michael Jackson’s long-term dermatologist, friend and he’s a professor of medicine and dermatology at UCLA.
Doctor, how did you first meet Michael?
DR. ARNIE KLEIN, MICHAEL JACKSON’S DERMATOLOGIST: I met Michael because someone had brought him into my office. And they walked into the room with Michael. And I looked one — took one look at him and I said you have lupus erythematosus. Now, this was a long word.
KLEIN: Lupus, yes. I mean, because he had red — a butterfly rash and he also had severe crusting you could see on the anterior portion of his scalp. I mean I always am very visual. I’m a person who would look at the lips of Mona Lisa and not see her smile. I would see the lips.
KING: Was he there because of that condition?
KLEIN: He was there only because a very close friend of his had told him to come see me about the problems he had with his skin. Because he was — he had severe acne, which many people made fun of him [for]. He used to remember trying to clean it off and he’d gone to these doctors that really hurt him very much. And he was exquisitely sensitive to pain.
So he walked into my office. He had several things wrong with his skin. So I said — and you have thick crusting of your scalp and you have some hair loss.
He says, well, how do you know this?
I said, because it’s the natural course of lupus. So I then did a biopsy. I diagnosed lupus. And then our relationship went from there.