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 14, 2009

Misc.: Winifred Bennett

A recently divorced Charlottesville, Virginia, resident, Winifred Bennett, found a modest share of temporary celebrity without really meaning to in 1993, when at a dinner party she made an offhand suggestion that one of Virginia's great lingering mysteries might be solved by DNA testing.

One of her dinner companions, a retired pathologist, was Eugene Foster, a man capable of conducting such tests. Foster assembled a team and went at it.

The team's conclusion was that at least one of Monticello slave Sally Hemmings' children and possibly all of them, had been fathered by either Thomas Jefferson or another male in his immediate family.

The Foster team's study was published in the journal Nature in 1998. It was not met with a great deal of enthusiasm by the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, the Monticello Association and some others who claim to be descendants of the remarkable Mr. Jefferson.

Bennett, who had been a Ford Agency model in her younger days, had read about how DNA had failed to support the claims of another Charlottesville resident, Anna Manahan, who claimed for many years to be Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Russia's last czar.

Bennett died in 2006 at age 71.

No comments:

Post a Comment