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, January 13, 2010

Mass/serial killers: Albert DeSalvo

One of the earliest of America's serial killers to gain heavy publicity and hence at least temporary celebrity of the notorious kind, Albert DeSalvo is thought by many to have strangled between 11 and 13 women in and around Boston from 1962 to 1964. He was billed in the press as The Boston Strangler.

DeSalvo, who worked as a handyman, was arrested in connection with serial rapes in Connecticut, where he was dubbed the Green Man because of the green overalls worn by the rapist. DeSalvo was convicted of rape in 1967 and sentenced to life. He was never tried for the murders, which he reportedly confessed to his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, although police cast doubt on his motives for confessing to murder. The number of rapes he committed remains a mystery. Police put the possible total at 300, but DeSalvo himself claimed 2000, give or take a few.

Whoever did the Boston area killings used some textile item to strangle the victims, who were left with that item tied around the person's neck tied in a bow.

DeSalvo's rape victims were mostly elderly or middle-aged women, an unusual target group. He and two fellow inmates escaped from prison in 1967 but were recaptured the next day. DeSalvo was stabbed to death in his cell in 1973; his killer was never identified.

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