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 3, 2010

Iconic TV role: Ruth Buzzi

Somehow, Ruth Buzzi sounds like a stage name, but it isn't. Her father, a sculptor born in the Italian side of Switzerland, settled in Rhode Island before Ruth's birth.

Her iconic, celebrity-producing role was on the comedy show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," where she played the grumpy, scary-looking spinster Gladys Ormphby. A hairnet with a knot in it gave the appearance of a hole in her forehead. Audiences laughed their heads off at her purse-wielding disgust when assailed by dirty-old-man Tyrone Horneigh, played by tiny Artie Johnson. Their little duets usually took place on a park bench.

Although her celebrity came mainly from "Laugh-In," Buzzi had earlier played on Broadway and had appeared in "That Girl," "The Gary Moore Show," and with Steve Allen.

"Laugh-In" ran from 1968 to 1973. Thereafter, Buzzi appeared in many other TV shows and in a modest number of movies. Below appears Buzzi with dashing actor Ricardo Montalban rather than Arte Johnson.

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