About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One-hit wnder Minnie Riperton

Remembered for her incredible vocal range--more than five octaves--that seemed to reach into the stratosphere, Minnie Riperton had a No.1 single in 1975: "Lovin' You." Riperton had planned to put her unusual voice to work in opera and studied at the Lincoln Center in her native Chicago, but instead she began a pop/soul/rhythm & blues career, singing lead for a group of girls billed as The Gems. She did backup work for Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and other performers and did some recording under an alias, Andrea Davis. In 1970, she recorded her first album, Come to My Garden, which attracted positive attention.

Riperton appeared on a number of TV shows, including The Mike Douglas Show and The Merv Griffin Show but died of cancer in 1979 when she was only 31. Her daughter, Maya Rudolph, has been a member of the Saturday Night Live cast.

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