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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Misc.: Frank Wills

Frank Wills had his brush with celebrity in 1972 as the security guard who was instrumental in the arrest of a band of political burglars at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. That arrest was the nail in the coffin for Richard Nixon's presidency.

Wills, African American, was working the 7 a.m. shift at Watergate when in the wee hours, he noticed a piece of tape covering a door lock. He removed the tape, but on his further rounds, saw that it had reappeared and called police.

Caught red-handed and arrested that night in the offices of the Democratic National Committee were former CIA operative James McCord and four cohorts. The trail of responsibility for the bungled burglary ran all the way back to the Oval Office and led to Nixon's resignation and the trials of several of his closest advisers.

Wills began charging for interviews, quit his job, but found his sudden celebrity short lived. He fell upon hard times, was twice arrested for shoplifting, and died an unhappy man--part hero, part victim-- at age 52 in 2000.

The role he played in history was recalled in the highly popular movie Forrest Gump (1994).

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