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Atkins, Robert (17 October 1930–17 April 2003), physician and diet specialist, was born Robert Coleman Atkins in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Eugene Atkins, a confectioner who later owned a bar and cigar store, and Norma Tuckerman. The great-grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants on both sides, Atkins grew up in Dayton, Ohio, to which his family moved in 1941. He shared his mother's social ambitions and taste for fine art. A diligent student, he came in second in a statewide scholarship test in 1947. That year he enrolled as a premedical student at the University of Michigan where, in his sophomore year, he was elected to the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1951, spent the summer as a waiter and stand-up comic at a resort in the Catskills, and went on to enroll in Cornell University Medical College in New York City, from which he received an M.D. in 1955. Atkins served residencies in cardiology at the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital and Columbia University's St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, and in 1960 he opened a private office in Manhattan....