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.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Victim Viola Liuzzo

Civil rights activist, housewife and mother of five Viola Liuzzo gave her life for her beliefs in 1965 on a lonely Deep South highway.

Liuzzo, 39, heard the appeals made by Martin Luther King for people of good will to rally for the cause of racial integration, and she told her family that she wanted to do her part.

One of her jobs was to help transport protesters and workers between Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. On March 25, 1965, she and her 19-year-old co-worker Leroy Moton had dropped off their passengers and were returning for another load when they were seen by a car peopled by four members of the Ku Klux Klan. A high-speed chase ensued.

Finally, the KKK car pulled alongside Liuzzo's vehicle, and Klansman Collie Leroy Wilkins hit Luizzo with two bullets to the head, killing her instantly. Moton grabbed the wheel, stepped on the brakes and brought the car to rest in a ditch. He played dead and got away with it.

One of the passengers in the KKK car, Gary Thomas Rowe, turned out to be an FBI informant. Another KKK passenger soon died of a heart attack. Wilkins and Eugene Thomas were tried for murder but were acquitted.

Mrs. Luizzo's murder horrified most Americans, and her sacrifice helped prepare the way for passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for remembering my mother, Viola Liuzzo. It is much appreciated!
    Sally Liuzzo