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, November 18, 2009

Murderers: James Earl Ray

The name James Earl Ray is sure to be easily recognized by most Americans as belonging to the man convected of murdering the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.

A sad, pathetic figure by the time he died at age 70 in 1998, Ray had come of age as an unfortunate product of his time. In that era in which most white Americans were at last coming to see the immense wrong of racial segregation and discrimination, Ray remained adamant.

He had spent quite a few years in prison prior to King's murder and had made two attempts to escape before he finally succeeded in doing so in 1967. Details are lacking, but after shooting Dr.King, Ray reportedly traveled to Mexico, Canada and England. How he came up with the money for this travel remains a mystery although conspiracy theories abound.He was caught at London's Heathrow Airport.

In 1969, Ray pled guilty but later changed his story. He received a 99-year sentence.

He escaped in 1977 but was recaptured three days later.

Among those who do not think Ray actually was King's murderer are, reportedly, King's surviving family.

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