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, February 20, 2009

Advertising icon Jesse White

He was in vaudeville, on Broadway, in movies, and on many a television series in the capacity of a character actor, but Jesse White's most lasting claim to fame comes from his 1967-1988 run as the lonely, sad-faced Maytag repair man.

The idea behind this long series of commercials was to encourage the buying public to believe that this appliance brand was so reliable that repair service would seldom be needed. White, born Jesse Weidenfeld, played his part well.

But for Harvey (1950) and Death of a Salesman (1951), the movies in which White appeared were pretty much B-grade. His TV career was more noteworthy, beginning in the mid-1950s and ending in 1996 (on Seinfeld). Though his parts were small, he appeared on The Jack Benny Show, Bonanza, The Addams Family, The Andy Griffith Show, 77 Sunset Strip, That Girl, Hawaii Five-O, the Jackie Gleason Show, Happy Days, Love Boat and many other shows that live in the memories of older viewers.

White's death came in 1997, from a heart attack.

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