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, March 2, 2010

Iconic TV role: Herve Villechaize

The late Herve Villechaize, who was born with a rare form of dwarfism, owes his clebrity mainly to his role as Tattoo in the series "Fantasy Island."

Viewers who were around to watch this program have ingrained in their memories Tattoo, perched in a watchtower, shouting in his squeaky voice, "De plane, boss, de plane" as another airplane full of fantasy-seeking individuals arrived on Fantasy Island.

"De boss" was the show's star, dapper, worldly Ricardo Montalban, in the role of Mr. Rourke. It was Villechaize's insistence that he be paid as much as Montalban that resulted in his being fired from the role he had played from 1978 to 1983.

Villechaize was born in Paris to an English mother. He never knew who his biological father was, but he was adopted by his mother's second husband, a French surgeon. It is thought that his real father was Filipino.

When he was roughly 20, the tiny, less than 4-foot tall Villechaize moved to New York to seek his fortune. He taught himself English, supporting himself as an artist/photographer. He also did a little acting, and was cast in a 007 movie, "The Man with the Golden Gun," as assistant bad guy Nick Nack.

After his firing, he descended into depression and heavy drinking. After several suicide attempts, he succeeded in taking his own life with a pistol in 1993 at age 50.

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