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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Misc.: Francis Gary Powers

For a brief period starting in 1960, the name Francis Gary Powers was known by virtually every literate American who paid any attention whatsoever to the news.

Powers, who had flown for the Air Force in the Korean conflict, was a CIA spy-plane pilot who was shot down over the Soviet Union while on a mission. The high-altitude U-2, which had taken off from a base in Pakistan, was fling ususally low and was hit by a Soviet missile. Powers parachuted to safety but was picked up by the KGB, tried for espionage, found guilty, and sentenced to 10 years.

Less than two years later, however, Powers was exchanged in Berlin for a Soviet spy who had been captured by the West.

After his return to the States, Powers worked as a test pilot and later as a TV news helicopter pilot. Due to a faulty fuel gauge, his copter crashed near Burbank in 1977, killing him.

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