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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Iconic TV role: Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson has appeared in many and many a TV show but is forever identified with his "Gilligan's Island" role: "The Professor," whose actual cast name was Roy Hinckley. The show aired from 1964 to 1967, but it lives on in endless re-runs.

Johnson, the actor's real name, not a pseudonym, served in the Army Air Forces during World War II and was a combat bombadier. He studied acting after the war and had small parts in a few movies.

In 1953, he began to get TV roles in such varied shows as "Superman," "The Lone Ranger," The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," Wagon Train," The Twilight Zone," "Death Valley Days," "Hawaiian Eye," Ben Casey," "Rawhide," "77 Sunset Strip,"The Big Valley," "That Girl," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Gunsmoke," "Mannix," "Cannon," "Wonder Woman," Lou Grant," "The Jeffersons," "MacGyver," "Newhart," "Dynasty," and "Roseanne."

His celebrity, however, is derived almost exclusively from "Gilligan's Island."

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