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.: Samantha Smith

Cute little Maine schoolgirl Samantha Smith, age 10, enjoyed a brush with celebrity in 1982 when she became a sort of unofficial good will ambassador to the Soviet Union.

A fifth grader at the time, Smith wrote a letter to Communist Party chief Yuri Andropov asking why the two nations could not seem to get along. Andropov responded by inviting the girl and her parents to visit the Soviet Union as that nation's guests, which they did in the winter of 1983. For two weeks, young Samantha represented her country charmingly.

A book about the unusual visit was published, and the resultant publicity got Smith a job hosting a Disney TV special and later a role on the TV show Lime Street, starring Robert Wagner.

As Smith's plane was returning to Maine from filming for that show in 1985,it missed the runway and crashed, killing Samantha and her fellow passengers.

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