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.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Iconic TV role: Larry Linville

Actor Larry Linville found his perfect role in 1972 in one of television's greatest comedy series, "M.A.S.H." Somehow he was picture perfect as disagreeable surgeon Maj. Frank Burns, butt of many jibes from the show's two stars.

This role was used by the show's writer to satirize some aspects of military life. Linville filled this role until 1977, when he left to pursue other interests and was replaced by a new Major, stuffy but able Boston brahmin Charles Emerson Winchester.

Linville had studied at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and first worked in live theater doing Shakespeare and appearing on Broadway and elsewhere.

His initial appearance on TV was in "Judd for the Defense." He also had appearances in such shows as "Mannix,"Mission Impossible," "The F.B.I.," "Bonanza," "Night Court," and "Murder, She Wrote," usually playing a bad guy.

Some of Linville's funniest scenes on "M.A.S.H." involved his seamy, illicit romance with W.A.C. officer Hotlips Houlihan. Always the pair would be found out and embarrassed by the show's central character, Dr. Hawkeye Pierce.

At age 60, Linville had surgery that removed a part of a lung. Two years later, in 2000, he died of cancer.

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