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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Disgraced business figure Michael Milken

One of those all-American stories of temporary disgrace erased by big bucks and good deeds is that of financier Michael Milken, known as the Junk Bond King.

Milken, who emerged from his troubles with more than $2 billion, was charged in 1989 with securities fraud and racketeering due to alleged insider trading and other violations.

The racketeering charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain, but in 1990 Milken plead guilty to several financial market improprieties. He got 10 years, but later, with the help of lawyer Alan Dershowitz, the term was reduced by a judge. Milken served a bit less than two years and emerged still smiling and still very wealthy.

The Wharton School MBA worked for the investment bank Drexel Harriman Ripley, later Drexel Burnham & Company. There, he began dealing in risky but high-yield bonds. Later, he left Drexel to start his own firm, International Capital Access Group.

The wily and successful bond trader has resurrected his public image via good works accomplished through the Milken Institute, the Milken Scholars program, and Milken foundations for research on epilepsy, melanoma and prostate cancer.

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