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 Dennis Kozlowski

Now serving a prison term of 8.25 to 24 years is former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski, a corporate executive who made lavish executive spending into an art form.

Having been with Tyco since 1975, Kozlowski took over as CEO in 1992 and worked out for himself compensation packages beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.

Company stockholders began to take notice of his excessive compensation, and news began to surface regarding his $30 million Fifth Avenue apartment in New York, a $15,000+ umbrella stand, and--wildest of all--a $6,000 shower curtain.

Then there was the matter of a birthday party held on the island of Sardinia for Kozlowski's wife Karen, who divorced him in 2006. The party was tricked out as a stockholders' meeting and cost the company a reported $1 million, with the high-living CEO contributing a like sum.

These matters, plus allegations of high-ticket art purchases paid out of company funds and absurdly high bonuses for other top corporate brass, led to Kozlowski's resignation in 2002.

Eventually he and his CFO were charged with having stripped the corporation of around $600 million. He was convicted in 2005. His appeal was rejected.

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