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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Advertising icon Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas was a modest, unassuming, ordinary-looking fellow who, after working in a Tennessee barbecue restaurant when he was a boy, decided to make his living in the restaurant business.

And did he ever! After working for Arthur Treacher's and for Harland Sanders of fried chicken fame, and after owning three KFC franchises of his own, Thomas started his own restaurant, Wendy's, in Columbus, Ohio. The restaurant was named for his daughter.

By the time of Thomas' death from cancer in 2002, the Wendy's International chain had roughly 6,000 restaurants.

Thomas might be remembered simply for having been a great American success story in business, but the way most of us will always picture him is as the Wendy's fry cook in the company's TV commercials and print ads. Somehow, America just liked him. He is said to have appeared in roughly 800 Wendy's commercials, starting in 1989 and ending not long before his death.


  1. Sir, due respect, somehow you insinuate his "fame" a fluke of some sort. He is still a house hold name (not to mention kick ass). He doesn't belong in your blog.

  2. Steve, thanks for your message. It made me stop and think. Also, I went back into the intro to this blog, in which I was not entirely clear. I made a change because of your heads-up.

    I meant absolutely no disrespect for Dave Thomas and what he accomplished as founder of the Wendy's chain. I included him, on the other hand, because his public celebrity came not from his business acumen, but from his success as TV commercial front man for his own company. That one role has made him an icon.

    Some of the individuals appearing in my blog are not really so much "temporary" but are people known (as celebrities) for one great thing.

    Anyhow, thanks.