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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One-hit wonder Jeanine Deckers

Really, really unusual among recording successes was that of Belgian nun Jeanne-Paule Marie Deckers while she was cloistered in a Dominican convent in Belgium. Her surprise international hit, in 1963, was the song Dominique. She became known in Europe as Soeur Sourire, which translates as Sister Smile, or the Smiling Sister. In the U.S., she was billed as The Singing Nun, and in her convent, she was known as Sister Luc Gabriel.

Many older Americans (like this one) recall her 1964 television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and others know of her from the 1966 Debbie Reynolds movie about her, The Singing Nun. Her unlikely rise to celebrity is said to have been the inspiration for Sally Field's TV show The Flying Nun.

Although Deckers donated much of what she earned to her convent, she left the order and performed as Luc Dominique, became a social activist with special interests in birth control and autism, and found herself in tax trouble for what she had considered charitable contributions from her big hit song's profits. She and her companion, Anna Pecher, died in 1985 in a double suicide.

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