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.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Disgraced business figure Bernie Madoff

Creator and operator of an incredibly enormous Ponzi scheme, said to have cost his clients around $65 billion, is Bernard Madoff of New York.

Financier Madoff is a rarity: a white-collar miscreant who actually confessed to what he had done rather than pleading not guilty or weasel-wording that he "might have made errors of judgment."

Instead, he pled guilty to duping an enormous number of investors, some of them very wealthy and presumably sophisticated individuals, via what might very well be the biggest Ponzi scheme anyone ever operated.

Madoff started his own Wall Sreet firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, in 1960 and grew great wealth for himself and some of his employees, some of whom were family members.

Madoff lived the lifestyle of the rich and famous, with a New York penthouse plus other residences in Palm Beach and France.

In 2008, with trouble closing in, he confessed to his sons that he was operating what amounted to a giant Ponzi scheme. The two younger Madoffs turned him in, and their father was arrested by the FBI straightaway.

For a time, Madoff was held in house arrest, but his bail was revoked and he was taken into custody. He was found guilty and sentenced in 2009 to 150 years in prison, with restitution demands of $170 billion.

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