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 1, 2009

Sports/Outdoors: Bobby Riggs

Robert Larimore "Bobby" Riggs was actually a very fine tennis player and in the late 1930s was ranked No.1 in the world. His reputation as a star of the game faded badly, however, and in 1973 at age 55, he achieved a new and, oddly, more widespread and lasting celebrity when he challenged one woman too many to a "battle of the genders" tennis match.

The colorful Riggs, who liked to gamble on tennis, including his own matches, made headlines like never before when he challenged reigning women's champ Billie Jean King. King declined, but Margaret Court agreed to play him. Riggs told the media that even the highest-ranked woman could never beat a male player. He won this Mothers Day match, after which Billie Jean King agreed to play him.

The world was watching this September 1973 match, in which King, age 30, easily beat Riggs. He was gracious in defeat, as was she in victory, and the two became very good friends from then until Riggs' death from cancer in 1995 at age 77.

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