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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Advertising icon Hector Boyardee

Note: Some temporary and one-shot celebrities came to be known to a widespread public due to one stellar role in a television commercial or series of commercials for the same company. Such a person was Hector Boiardi.

Older Americans know his face from cans of spaghetti and other Italian food products sold under his name.

Hector Boiardi was born in Italy in 1897 and emigrated to America as a youth. He worked at various kitchen jobs before moving to New York City in 1915 and finding work in the kitchen of the Plaza Hotel. He also cooked at the New York Ritz-Carlton, at West Virginia's posh resort the Greenbriar, and at the Hotel Winton in Cleveland,Ohio.

In the 1920s, he started his own Italian restaurant in Cleveland and also began selling spaghetti sauce to patrons who requested it. He began to mass produce his Italian sauces and other food products and helped Americans along with pronouncing the "foreign-sounding" name by placing it on the products as Boy-ar-dee.

Billed as Chef Boy-ar-dee, he was his own company's commercial spokesman throughout the 1950s and 1960s. For many Americans, his mustache, chef's hat and smile were the very face of Italian cuisine in that era when steak, roast beef and fried chicken still ruled. He died in his late 80s in 1985, a great American success story and a major commercial icon as well.

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