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.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Iconic TV role: Ted Knight

Ted Knight, born Tadeusz Konopka, is the polish-American actor who found his share of celebrity in the role of the clueless anchor man on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

Before reaching the level of celebrity, Knight did commercials and character acting in a few movies and in such TV shows as "The Wild, Wild West," "The Virginian," "Bonanza," The Fugitive," and "Gunsmoke."

Somehow his acting talents were a perfect fit for the hilariously shallow, inept news anchor Ted Baxter on Mary Tyler Moore's series, which ran from 1970 to 1977. His performance was a superb one-man satire directed at news anchors, whose appearance is often more important than their journalistic acumen.

Later, Knight played a cartoonist in the show "Too Close for Comfort," but his place in TV viewers' memory is mainly from his portrayal of Ted Baxter. Knight died of complications from surgery in 1986 at age 62.

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