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, September 1, 2009

Disgraced business figure Marc Rich

The commodities trader born in Belgium as Marc David Reich, had his name changed to Marc Rich (a downright prophetic choice) after he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1942.

Rich married a shoe company heiress in 1966 and in the early 1970s, contrived to ignore the U.S. embargo on buying oil from Iraq and Iran. This occurred at a time when Iran was holding more than 50 American citizens hostage, and Rich's deals no doubt helped the Iranians and Iraqis purchase armaments. Having bought the oil on the cheap, he then sold it at enormous profit during a period of frightening U.S. gasoline shortages. He established a beneficial relationship with Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and also founded a big real estate development company in Eastern Europe.

Rich came under indictment for tax evasion and illegal oil trading in 1983 and chose to remain in Switzerland rather than return to America and face charges. He gave up his U.S. citizenship, living the lifestyle of the rich and famous with residences on Lake Lucerne and in the Swiss resort town of St. Moritz and in Marbella, Spain.

Rich lives the very, very good life in Europe, continues doing business deals in Nigeria, South Africa and elsewhere, has been honored in Israel for his philanthropy there, and was a big contributor to the coffers of President Bill Clinton.

In one of his most questionable non-sexual acts as president, Clinton granted Rich a full pardon on Clinton's last day in office. Rich's beautiful ex-wife, Denise, had been a major contributor to Clinton and the Democratic Party and had lobbied hard for the pardon. The pardon, like Bill Clinton's unusual intern policy, was one of his most shameful acts.

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