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.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Notorious celebrity: Sam Sheppard

Surely the most famous osteopathic physician ever, Dr. Sam Sheppard, who worked in a Cleveland suburb, was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife in the couple's home in 1954.

Sheppard's story was that he had fallen asleep on a couch while watching TV and was awakened by his wife's screams. He testified that he had fought with a bushy-haired man, who had knocked him out.

The case and trial received extremely heavy publicity. It came to light that he had engaged in a three-year affair with a nurse, which jurors interpreted as a motive for killing his wife. He was found guilty and sentenced to life.

Sheppard remained in prison for a decade, but the U.S. Supreme Court decided to review his case and concluded in a 1966 decision that he had been denied due process due to the prejudicial publicity involved and the trial judge's refusal to sequester the jury. He was freed and a new trial was ordered. In retrial, he was found not guilty.

Sheppard returned to his medical practice but that ended after two malpractice suits were filed against him. He then became a professional wrestler known as The Killer.

A drinking problem led to his death in 1970. His sgtory was the inspiration for the popular TV series The Fugitive.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sam,

    Essentially correct information, but the real story lies in why Cleveland authorities framed Sam Sheppard while leaving Marilyn's real killer free to kill again. Check out the facts on http://www.drsamsheppard.org.

    Janet Sheppard