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, June 22, 2009

Inventor/Innovator Christiaan Barnard

Note: Among the least known of all celebrities despite their immense importance are our innovators and inventors. As a people, we could justly be criticized for showing far more interest in big muscles and big breasts than in big brains. Still, the individuals who appear below in this section of Celebrityblogsburg undeniably have gained celebrity among certain subsets of Americans. Presented here are a sample of men and women who are celebrated for one reputation-establishing invention or innovation, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Among the really important innovations since the end of World War II is the human heart transplant, a surgery first performed in 1967 in Pretoria by South African cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard.

Donor of the heart for this novel procedure was Denise Darvall, who was being kept alive by respirator. Her heart was transplanted into patient Louis Washkansky, who had been in an automobile accident.

Leading a large team of doctors and nurses, Dr. Barnard performed the operation successfully, although Washkansky died 18 days later of an infection. The second recipient of a transplanted human heart, Dr. Philip Bleiberg, lived for two years after his surgery.

Barnard was an ideal international celebrity. He was a handsome young doctor who appeared to like the attention from the media, and from such beautiful women celebrities as Gina Lollobrigida and and her screen rival Sophia Loren.

Barnard died in 2001 at age 78.

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