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October 23, 1987

It Sounds Glamorous, but TV Celebrity Status Offers Physician Little Respite

JAMA. 1987;258(16):2171-2172. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400160017004

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ART ULENE, MD, is reclining in a stuffed wing chair in the lobby of a hotel in the California desert resort town of Rancho Mirage. A group of middle-aged women huddle, whispering and giggling, a short distance away. Finally, they inch closer, moving together. Still giggling, the blushing spokesperson asks, "Are you Art Ulene?" They are clearly delighted. Ulene is clearly uncomfortable; he is congenial, but slightly taciturn.

"We will win a $50 bet if we ask you a question," they say. But awe paralyzes their imagination, and no one is sure what to ask. Then, one blurts: "What are you eating? Is it junk food?" Caught unawares, Ulene picks up the tiny cellophane bag from his lap to look for himself. Fortunately, the bag contains a packaged granola snack.

It is not easy being Dr Art Ulene. Because he appears coast to coast on the NBC "Today Show" and