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 10, 2009

Femmes fatales Christine Keeler & Mandy Rice-Davies

For a short while in the early 1960s, the names of two good-looking Brits were known to virtually every American having the IQ and awareness of a radish. Leggy, sultry brunette Christine Keeler and seductive blonde Mandy Rice-Davies brought the Conservative government of British Prime Minister Harold McMillan low in 1963 when it was learned that Keeler was sleeping with both British Secretary of State for War John Profumo and a Soviet naval attache named Yevgeny Ivanov--perhaps a classic case of trying to have it both ways.

Both girls had grown up in humble circumstances and to get on in the world, used what they had, namely, good looks and a giving attitude. Both began their quest for the glamorous life as store models, then became club dancers.

Keeler was befriended by English osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward and for a while lived with him, apparently platonically. At a party thrown by the playful peer Lord Astor, Ward introduced Keeler to John Profumo and the two struck up an affair. Meanwhile, Keeler had lined up Rice-Davies with one of her former lovers, slumlord Peter Rachman.

Details are unclear, but another Keeler lover, John Edgecombe, fired shots at a house in which the two girls were talking, and his trial caused many a sordid detail to become public.

As age took its inevitable toll, both Keeler and Rice-Davies published their autobiographies, and both were featured in the 1989 movie Scandal, in which Joanne Whalley was Keeler and Bridget Fonda played Rice-Davies. Rice-Davies tried her hand at recording pop music but met little success, later marrying an Israeli and becoming a nightclub owner in Tel Aviv.

No comments:

Post a Comment