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.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Femme fatale Judith Campbell Exner

A femme fatale who covered a lot of ground was Judith Exner, who died of cancer in 1999. She is remembered mainly for her affair (if that is the best term) with John F. Kennedy, both before and after he was president.

Exner first had become involved with crooner Frank Sinatra. It was "Old Blue Eyes" who in 1960 introduced her to Kennedy during a get-together in Las Vegas. He also introduced her to Mafia kingpin San Giancana at about that same time. Enterprising young woman that she was, she began sleeping with both men and by her own account, became a go-between for dealings between them in a plot to murder Fidel Castro of Cuba.

Her account of all this high-powered hanky-panky came out in Exner's 1977 memoir, "My Story," in which she claimed that JFK was active as a jack rabbit in messing around with women who "were not his'n." According to Exner, he dallied with strippers, prostitutes, a likely Danish spy, and Marilyn Monroe. Her own involvement with Kennedy, she wrote, lasted around two years. The beautiful brunette also claimed to have aborted JFK's baby around a year before he was assassinated.

Exner's life quieted down when she married golfer Dan Exner in 1975. The couple split more than a decade later, and she lived out her life alone in California.

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