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.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mass/serial killers: John Wayne Gacy

Among the very spookiest of U.S. serial murders was John Wayne Gacy of Chicago, who was found guilty of murdering 33 young men between 1972 and 1978. The remains of 28 of them were found under Gavy's home, and he admitted throwing the bodies of others into nearby rivers.

Rather like a villain in a Batman comic book, the pudgy Gacy, who owned his own construction company, liked to dress the part of Pogo the Clown and entertain sick children. His own depiction of his clown costume appears below.

He sometimes gained control of his victims by luring them to his house, purporting to show them a "magic trick" involving the use of handcuffs, then rendering them unconscious with chloroform. He would sexually abuse them and eventually torture them to death.

The people who knew Gacy had no idea he was such a sadistic monster. He was a cheerful giver to charities, an award-winning Jaycee and politically active, even managing to have his photo taken with President Jimmy Carter's wife Rosalyn.

Gacy was captured after one of his victims, whom he had allow to go free, recognized his car and tipped off police.

Gacy was executed in 1994 by lethal injection.

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