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: Nancy Kulp

The names Nancy Kulp and Miss Jane Hathaway are forever linked like peanut butter and jelly. Miss Hathaway, secretary to banker Mr. Drysdale, was Kulp's celebrity-producing role on the hugely popular series "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962-1971).

A journalism major in college, Kulp served in the Navy during part of World War II, then found a publicity job in Hollywood. Her name at birth was spelled Culp, but she altered the spelling so as not to conflict with fellow actor Robert Culp.

Her early movie work included roles in "Shane," "The Caddy," and "Sabrina"; and her early TV work, "I Love Lucy," "The Red Skelton Show," "The Bob Cummings Show," The Jack Benny Program," "Perry Mason," and "The Twilight Zone."

As Miss Hathaway, she was a skinny, man-hungry nose-in-the-air, uptight spinster. Her erudition and clipped accent was just the right contrast to the Clampets' untutored rural innocence. Her fluttery performance when in the presence of the muscular Jethro Clampet was especially hilarious.

Later, she appeared in such shows as "Sanford and Son" and "The Brian Keith Show." In the 1980s, she ran unsuccessfully for Congress. At age 67, she came out openly as lesbian.

Kulp died of cancer in 1991 at age 69.

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