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 17, 2009

Femme fatale Tai Collins

Perhaps the best-looking of all recent femmes fatales, Roanoke, Va., native Tanquil (Tai) Collins is the blonde who tarnished the good-guy image of her state’s senator Chuck Robb, who, at the time of their encounter at New York’s Hotel Pierre, was married to Lynda Byrd Johnson, younger daughter of former president Lyndon Johnson.

Collins, the 1983 Miss Virginia USA, revealed that she had an almost year-long affair with Robb beginning that same year, when he was Virginia’s governor. Robb never admitted to the affair but verified that she had been in his hotel room at the Pierre—but only to give him a massage and share a bottle of wine.

Anyone who actually believed his account should have later invested with Mr. Madoff or in Georgia swampland. There are plenty such people, however, and Robb won reelection in 1994, not long after the spicy story had appeared. The story was not the only thing that had appeared. Collins capitalized on her temporary celebrity by doing a spectacular and presumably profitable spread in Playboy. In the 2000 race, however, Robb lost his Senate seat, his credibility damaged.

Robb aides had threatened Collins if she testified against the senator, but she had cleverly taped them doing it.

Robb’s wife forgave him, and he later became a law professor.
Collins did some acting—some of it on Baywatch, for which she also has done writing. In addition, she has helped set up and run a foundation-sponsored camp to benefit needy inner-city children on the West Coast.

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