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 Robert Vesco

After many years on the lam from U.S. law enforcement, financier Robert Vesco died of lung cancer in 2007 in Havana, Cuba.

Vesco's storied wealth began with his International Controls Corporation in New Jersey. Then in 1970, he took over a mutual fund family, Investors Overseas Service, Ltd., which he then looted.

The Securties and Exchange Commission charged Vesco with defrauding that company of more than $200 million, and rather than face the charges, he rapidly relocated in 1973 to Costa Rica, where he dispensed enough payoff money to prevent his being extradited to America.

In 1978, he moved to Nassau and next to Antigua. He hoped to purchase the island of Barbuda from Antigua and declare it his own sovereign state, but that plan failed.

Next he lived in Nicaragua, and in 1982, he moved to Cuba. There he was charged with drug smuggling, and when Vesco attempted to put one over on Raul Castro in a business deal involving the medicine Trixolan, Vesco was arrested. He was found guilty in a Cuban court and sentenced to a prison term in 1996.

Vesco was scheduled to be released in 2009, but death overtook him at age 71.

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