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, August 25, 2009

Disgraced religious figure Jim Bakker

"Doing well by doing good" might well have been the motto of former Assemblies of God minister Jim Bakker, co-founder of the PTL Club who left that ministry following a sex scandal.

In their youth, Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye decided to become evangelists. A few years later, in 1966, they were working for evangelist entrepreneur Pat Robertson during the early years of his Christian Broadcasting Network in Tidewater Virginia.

The peppy Bakkers worked for the religious variety show "The 700 club," then had their own "Jim and Tammy Show," aimed mainly at children.

At some time after 1970, he couple moved to California, the land of golden dreams, where they conducted the "Praise the Lord" show on Trininty Broadcasting Network. Around a year thereafter, they moved back to the East Coast to Charlotte, N.C., and founded a new and highly popular show, "The PTL Club."

PTL stood for Praise the Lord, but in time, critics wiescracked that it really should stand for "Pass the Loot."

The Bakkers assured their followers that God wanted them all to be rich (and presumably wanted the Bakkers to be even richer).

The couple's appeals for "love gifts" were many and varied. A fair amount of the loot that poured in from the well meaning faithful was devoted to a really, really lavish lifestyle for Jim and Tammy.

The height of their ambition came with the building of Heritage USA, a huge Christian theme park in nearby Fort Mills, S.C. Offers for "lifetime memberships" became fraudulent come-ons for some PTL members and attracted the eagle eye of investigative reporters at the Charlotte Observer newspaper.

About that same time, reports revealed that Jim Bakker had made a fat payoff to a buxom young woman, Jessica Hahn, as hush money because he had had sex with her, which she was calling rape.

Bakker resigned and Lynchburg, VA, pastor Jerry Falwell assumed the helm of PTL.

Jim Bakker was found guilty of a variety of charges and was given a 45-year prison sentence, which eventually was cut to eight years. He was paroled after serving only five years.

The Bakkers divorced, and both remarried. Jim and his new wife moved to Branson, Missouri, in 2003, and he resumed work in the TV ministry business.

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