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, March 23, 2009

Hoaxer Christophe Rocancourt

Most children enjoy playing make-believe, but French-born Christophe Thierry Daniel Rocancourt made a profitable career of it.

Rocancourt reportedly had a difficult childhood, then ran away to Paris, where he discovered the joys of large-scale criminal hoaxing.His initial caper involved the "sale" of high-end real estate he didn't actually own.

Moving to the Untied States, he made use of several different aliases and posed variuosly as a film producer, Sophia Loren's son,the nephew of two famous fashion designers, a boxer, and a venture capitalist. The hoax that best captured the public imagination, however, was when he posed as a free-spending French member of the Rockefeller family.

During the height of his hoaxing, Rocancourt married Pia Reyes, a particularly pulcritudinous Playboy model.

His house of cards began to collapse in 1997, and in 2002, he pled guilty to theft, bribery and other charges. He was extradited to New York from Canada, where he had been arrested, and was sentenced to four years. AT the time, he estimated that he had duped people out of more than $40 million.

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