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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iconic TV role: Don Adams

Born Donald Yarmy, comedic actor Don Adams is very nearly synonymous with Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, in the 1965-1970 series "Get Smart," a takeoff on the James Bond films so popular at that time.

Although he looked fairly small and slight, Adams had fought in World War II and had been a Marine drill instructor.

His start in show biz was as a standup comic doing impersonations. He appeared on the program "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" in 1954. In the early to mid 1960s he played a chucklehead detective on "The Bill Dana Show," after which he landed the role that gave him celebrity.

As Maxwell Smart, he and his partner, Agent 99 (actress Barbara Feldon) fought international criminal masterminds; Adams' favorite spyware was his shoe phone, into which he would speak with his boss, "The Chief," using comically stylized catch phrases in a ridiculously nasal "professional" voice.

He later hosted a short-lived game show, but his moment in the celebrity sun was as Agent 86.

Adams died in 2005 at age 82.

No comments:

Post a Comment