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 3, 2010

Iconic TV role: McLean Stevenson

Actor McLean Stevenson, who was a cousin of political figure Adali Stevenson, found his perfect role in the great comedy series "M.A.S.H." as the bumbling commanding officer of a Korean War field hospital. He was perfectly cast for the role but eventually wanted to star in his own show. He played Col. Henry Blake from 1972 until 1975.

Thereafter, he starred in three ill-fated, lackluster sitcoms, the first of which was "The McLean Stevenson Show." He did guest spots on other shows, such as "Love Boat" and Different Strokes" but never again came remotely close to the kind of success he had enjoyed on "M.A.S.H."

Stevenson had begun his show-biz career in live theater and in TV commercials. He also was a comedy writer, working for "That Was the Week That Was" and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Show." As he continued to become better known, he played on "That Girl" and on "The Doris Day Show" before being cast as Col. Blake, the one role that brought him celebrity.

As Henry Blake, Stevenson did a terrific job of portraying the goofy, dreamy-eyed, girl-crazy, golf club swinging C.O. When he was written out of the show at his own insistence, he was replaced by the venerable actor Harry Morgan.

Stevenson died after surgery in 1996 at age 66.

No comments:

Post a Comment