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, May 10, 2010

Iconic TV role: Max Baer, Jr.

Max Baer, Jr. was the son of former heavyweight champion boxer Max Baer and, like his dad, was a strapping fellow by the time he began acting in a variety of TV shows that included westerns "Cheyenne" and "Maverick" and detective shows such as "Hawaiian Eye" and "77 Sunset Strip."

His big break came as Jethro Bodine on that silliest of sitcoms "The Beverly Hillbillies." Silly but hilarious, this show ran from 1962 to 1971. His role must surely have been modeled after the comic strip figure Li'l Abner. The character was a dim-witted yet friendly yokel of considerable size and strength. The storyline in general was about the misadventures of a backwoods Appalachian family that struck oil and decided to "move to Bev-er-ly--Hills, that is" and how the neuvo riche family interacted with the California sophisticates there.

Baer was so thoroughly typecast in that role that when the show closed, he had severe difficulty getting other parts. Instead, he turned to producing and, in addition, got into the casino/gaming business.

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