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.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whistleblower Sammy Gravano

Whistle blowing is very likely at its most dangerous when it is directed at the Mafia, and it is truly remarkable that Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is still among the living.

After a long and thoroughly despicable career of crime that began in Brooklyn for the Colombo family and continued with the Gambino organization, Gravano became convinced that a hit would be put out on him by his boss, John Gotti. Gravano had served as Gotti's consigliere and really knew where the bodies were buried (no pun intended, of course).

By that time, 1991, Gotti, formerly known as "The Teflon Don" and "The Dapper Don," was in prison for life, and Gravano himself, having confessed to numerous murders, had been sentenced to 20 years.

Gravano turned state's evidence on many of his fellow mobsters, however, and he was "sprung" and placed in the Witness Protection Program, which he left in 1995 to return to further criminal activity. When next he was arrested, he had been dealing in the drug ecstasy. He was again sent to prison in 2002 and still, incarcerated, has become quite ill.

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