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, December 2, 2009

Murderers: Ed Gein

Today, public memory of the name Ed Gein has all but disappeared, but in the 1950s, he was a celebrity psychopath of the first order.

Probably Gein killed quite a number of victims, but since he was convicted of but two killings, he is listed here rather than among the proven serial killers.

Gein is said to have provided the inspiration for the character Norman Bates in the classic movie "Psycho." In real life, Gein was crazy as a bedbug and lived in a filth-filled, dilapidated farmhouse in Plainfield, Wisconsin. He subsisted on government welfare payments and by doing odd jobs.

When police suspected him of robbing and abducting a local hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, they were horrified by what they found when they entered his house.

Mrs. Worden had been decapitated, hung upside down and gutted, in the manner used by deer hunters. Officers also found human skulls, lampshades and other items made of human skin and the grisly like.

Gein admitted to the murder of Worden and that of Mary Hogan, whom he had killed in 1954. He also admitted digging up the corpses of deceased women and making what was left of them into various bizarre objects.

Gein was found to be insane and was kept locked up in a mental facility until his 1984 death.

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