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 4, 2009

Murderers: Ronny Zamora

At age 15 in 1977, Miami teenager Ronny Zamora and his friend Darrell Agrella broke into an elderly neighbor's home to burglarize it, and when the 83-year-old woman returned home and found them there, Zamora shot her to death.

The boys found a few hundred dollars, stole their victim's car, and took off for Disney World.

The Zamora murder case was made memorable by the inventive, if ridiculous defense Zamora's attorney mounted: that his client should not be found guilty because he had been temporarily deprived of his sanity due to "television intoxication."

Lawyer Ellis Rubin, known for using flamboyant, offbeat defenses, tried to convince the jury that Zamora had developed "TV intoxication" by watching a steady diet of violent detective shows, especially his favorite, "Kojak."

Agrella made a plea deal and was out of prison by 1986. Zamora was released in 2004 after having served 27 years. He was immediately deported to Costa Rica, where he had been born.

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