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.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Disgraced business figure Douglas S. Cone

The disgrace of wealthy Tampa businessman Douglas S. Cone was not a matter of fraud, insider trading, or any other such business offense, but was of the personal sort.

Mr. Cone, a stern-looking man who made his money in road construction, had been married for 50 years to his wife, Jean Ann Cone. The two had contributed to various philanthropies, most notably the building of Berkeley Prep, a local prep school.

Another generous benefactor of Berkeley Prep was one Donald Carlson, who no one at the school had ever actually met in person. The Carlsons sent both their children to the school,and its baseball field was named in the Carlsons' honor due to their financial gifts.

In 2003, Mrs. Cone returned home in her green Rolls Royce, pulled into her garage, shut the garage door, but left the car running. She died there of carbon monoxide poisoning, and tests later showed that she had anti-anxiety medication in her system in addition to having a high blood alcohol level. Her death was ruled accidental.

Just two weeks later, Douglas Cone remarried, this time to a woman who had been calling herself Hillary Carlson for 20 years. It then came to light that Douglas Cone and Donald Carlson were one and the same fellow.

Cone had managed to have two families for all those years, and they lived a mere 20 miles apart. He had done it by telling wife Jean Ann that he frequently had to be away on business and by telling Hillary that he had a highly sensitive State Department job that kept him on the road much of the time.

Talk about burning your candles at both ends. And talk about sheer gall!

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