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: Leslie Irvin

Known in the press as "Mad Dog Irvin," Leslie Irvin, killer of six, was arrested in 1955. His murders took place in 1954 and 1955 in Kentucky and Indiana.

Irvin's capture was a matter of good luck. He was attempting to pawn stolen jewelry. One of the rings had belonged to someone recently murdered, and police were able to connect the dots.

Irvin is remembered today more for a U.S. Supreme Court decision in his case than for his crimes.

Publicity about his exploits and his capture was so heavy and so lurid that the High Court ruled he had not received a fair trial. In the history of what is called the free press-fair trial controversy, Irvin's case looms large. Due to prejudicial publicity,a new trial was ordered. In 1961, his retrial was held, and again he was found guilty.

Irvin died in prison of lung cancer in 1983 at age 59.

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