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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disgraced business figure John Rigas

John J., Rigas was a self-made man trained as an engineer. At the time he ran into major-league legal trouble, he was CEO of Adelphia Communications, one of the largest U.S. cable TV companies.

Rigas started his entrepreneurial career by buying a movie theater, then got into the cable TV business, which he grew with great success.

In 2002, he was forced to resign amidst charges of bank, wire and securities fraud. He, his sons Timothy and Michael and two other Adelphia executives were thought to have improperly taken more than $2 billion out of the corporation.

Rigas was found guilty and given a 15-year sentence; the once successful company went into bankruptcy. Son Timothy was also convicted, but Michael was acquitted. On appeal, a judge lessened John Rigas' sentence to 12 years, and the former CEO was unsuccessful at getting a presidential pardon from George W. Bush. Should he live so long, the elder Rigas will be 92 when his sentence has been served.

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