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 27, 2009

Advertising icon Gunilla Knutson

Back in the days when Marilyn Monroe was America's chief sex goddess, when such persons tended toward the big and buxom and blonde, along came blonde Swedish model Gunilla Knutson, a very worldly looking age 18, in a truly delightful TV commercial.

The ads were for Noxzema Instant Shave Cream. The ads, produced by the William Esty agency, showed the sexy Knutson urging men to "take it off...take it all off," with double meaning as obvious as a pie in your face. The commercial was camp rather than sleezy, however, and was done with a raucous rendition of the song The Stripper playing in the background.

Both male and female viewers loved the commercial, and variations of it ran through 1973. Only some members of the U.S. Congress, obviously playing to their more devout and humorless constituents, raised any objections to these commercials' sexual innuendo. (These were some of the same "leaders" who wanted to get braille copies of Playboy magazine off the shelves of the Library of Congress--until they were embarrassed by being informed by librarians that only the words were in braille.)

The comely Knutson had been Miss Sweden prior to coming to America. She appeared on the cover of Life magazine in December 1970, did later ads for a skin cream product, worked for a wine business and taught gymnastics. She also published a few books about massage, beauty and health.

Knutson was last in the news when she broke a leg while skiing in the Italian Alps.

After her one iconic TV ad, one suspects that she has never, ever had to buy her own drinks.

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