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.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Iconic TV roel: Louis Nye

Son of Yiddish-speaking Russian Jewish parents, Louis Nye (born Louis Neistat) was born in Connecticut, grew up to do some radio work, serve in the Army in World War II, and work in the very early days of live television.

Nye, who pronounced his first name as "Louie," had parts on "The Jack Benny Show" and "The Jimmy Durante Show" before really hitting his stride in a recurring role on "The Steve Allen Show" (1956-1961). We geezers who remember him on that program recall best his portrayal of Gordon Hathaway, Manhattan snob. Few of us had actually met a Manhattan snob at that time, of course, but we delighted in the way he would look right into the camera lens in a wonderfully self-satisfied way and let fly with a lilting, "Hi-ho, Stevarino. My name is Gordon Hathaway, and I'm from Manhattan." It was this portrayal that brought him celebrity.

Thereafter, Nye did guest spots on many other shows, including "The Ann Southern Show," "The Munsters," "Fantasy Island," "Laverne and Shirley," "The Cosby Show," and "Happy Days." He also was in a number of B-movies and recorded a few comedy albums.

Nye died of lung cancer in 2005 at age 92. Nye is shown below as straight man to Steve Martin's dry cleaning "healer."

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