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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Notorious celebrity: D.B. Cooper

The world of temporary and one-shot celebrity has a few lingering mysteries. One such is the actual fate of the 1971 airline highjacker who called himself D.B. Cooper.

His criminal feat was to highjack a Northwest Orient airliner at the Seattle-Takoma Airport and demand $200,000 and four parachutes from that company ere he blow up the plane.

When the company complied, he released the plane's 36 passengers and two of the crew members and then ordered the captain to take off for Mexico. The extortionist/highjacker jumped with his loot from the plane at 10,000 feet into wet,frigid weather in a wildnerness area north of Portland, Oregon.

Some think he escaped with the loot. Others think he died of exposure. No one is certain what happened to the man, and no one is sure of his actual identity.

In 1995, an antiques dealer in Pensacola,Florida, on his death bed, claimed that he was D.B. Cooper. This man, Duane Weber, had a shady past and at one time had been known as John C. Collins. According to his surviving wife, Weber's physical description matched that of the mysterious Cooper. She apparently had been unaware that Weber had served multiple stretches in prison for such offenses as burglary and forgery.

Others think that Cooper's actual name was Richard Floyd McCoy. McCoy was a Vietnam veteran and a Mormon who in 1972 died in a shootout with authorities in Virginia Beach, VA.

In 1980, a young man found $5,800 near the Columbia River. Some believe that this money was part of the Cooper ransom. But again, no one is sure.

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