History[ edit ] Athletes in Ancient Greece were welcomed home as heroes, had songs and poems written in their honor, and received free food and gifts from those seeking celebrity endorsement. He was promoted by the Christian Church as a martyr and images of him and scenes from his life became widespread in just a few years. In a pattern often repeated, what started out as an explosion of popularity often referred to with the suffix 'mania' turned into a long-lasting fame: The cult of personality particularly in the west can be traced back to the Romantics in the 18th century,  whose livelihood as artists and poets depended on the currency of their reputation.
The establishment of cultural hot-spots became an important factor in the process of generating fame: Newspapers started including gossip columns  and certain clubs and events became places to be seen in order to receive publicity. The movie industry spread around the globe in the first half of the 20th century and with it the now familiar concept of the instantly recognizable faces of its superstars. Yet, celebrity wasn't always tied to actors in films, especially when cinema was starting out as a medium.
Hollywood's Production of Popular Identities, "in the first decade of the twentieth century, American film production companies withheld the names of film performers, despite requests from audiences, fearing that public recognition would drive performers to demand higher salaries.
The second half of the century saw television and popular music bring new forms of celebrity, such as the rock star and the pop group, epitomised by Elvis Presley and the Beatles , respectively. John Lennon 's highly controversial quote: Unlike movies, television created celebrities who were not primarily actors; for example, presenters, talk show hosts, and news readers.
However, most of these are only famous within the regions reached by their particular broadcaster, and only a few such as Oprah Winfrey , Jerry Springer , or David Frost could be said to have broken through into a wider stardom. In the '60s and early '70s the book publishing industry began to persuade major celebrities to put their names on autobiographies and other titles in a genre called celebrity publishing. In most cases the book was not written by the celebrity but by a ghost-writer, but the celebrity would then be available for a book tour and appearances on talk shows.
For example, the Canadian province of Quebec , which is French-speaking, has its own system of French-speaking television, movie and music celebrities. A person who garners a degree of fame in one culture may be considered less famous or obscure in another. Some nationwide celebrities might command some attention outside their own nation; for example, the singer Lara Fabian is widely known in the French-speaking world, but only had a couple of Billboard hits in the U.
Regions within a country, or cultural communities linguistic, ethnic, or religious can also have their own celebrity systems, especially in linguistically or culturally distinct regions such as Quebec or Wales.
Regional radio personalities, newscasters , politicians or community leaders may be local or regional celebrities. In politics, certain politicians are recognizable to many people, usually the head of state and the Prime Minister. Yet only heads of state who play a major role in international politics have a good chance of becoming famous outside their country's borders, since they are constantly featured in mass media.
The President of the United States , for instance, is famous by name and face to millions of people around the world. Presidential elections are followed closely all across the globe, making the elected candidate instantly world-famous as a result.
In contrast, both the Pope and The Dalai Lama are far more famous under their official title than under their actual names. Usually when politicians leave active politics their recognizability tends to diminish among general audiences, as other politicians replace them in their official political functions.
Certain politicians, however, are still famous today, even decades or centuries after they were in power. They owe their fame to historical deeds which are kept in memory in history classes, for instance people like Julius Caesar , Genghis Khan , Napoleon Bonaparte , Abraham Lincoln and Mao Zedong. Scandal can also unwillingly make certain politicians famous, even among those who aren't particularly interested in politics.
English-speaking media commentators and journalists will sometimes refer to celebrities as belonging to the A-List or state that a certain actor belongs to the B-List, the latter being a disparaging context. These informal rankings indicate a placing within a hierarchy. However, due to differing levels of celebrity in different regions, it is difficult to place people within one bracket. A Brazilian actor might be a B-list action film actor in the U.
Some elements are associated with fame, such as appearing on the cover of Time , being spoofed in Mad , having a wax statue in Madame Tussauds , or receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Certain people are known even to people unfamiliar with the area in which they excelled. If one has to name a famous boxer, they are more likely to name Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson , since their fame expanded beyond the sport itself. Pablo Picasso 's style and name are known even to people who are not interested in art; likewise many know that Harry Houdini was an illusionist, Tiger Woods a golfer, Richard Branson , Bill Gates , and Donald Trump are entrepreneurs, Albert Einstein a scientist; Mozart and Beethoven classical composers; Luciano Pavarotti an opera singer, Bruce Lee a martial artist, William Shakespeare a playwright, Walt Disney an animator and Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong astronauts.
Assassins of high-profile celebrities can become famous, like Brutus who is remembered for murdering Julius Caesar. People who commit extremely gruesome crimes can also achieve infamy, such as Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.
Others owe their fame to never being identified or caught, like Jack the Ripper , or by regularly being interviewed in jail, like Charles Manson. However, certain criminals are covered far less extensively in media and, as such, don't become very famous at all. In other cases the huge media coverage disappears after the conclusion of their trial, causing them to fade in obscurity again. In some cases people who've been acquitted of certain crimes are still remembered as being guilty today, like Lizzie Borden , showing that the sensation occasionally overshadows the actual facts.
Fictional implications[ edit ] The same phenomenon is true for fictional characters. Sherlock Holmes , Dracula , Frankenstein's Monster and James Bond continue to be portrayed in film, television and literature decades after the original stories were published.
Superman , Spider-Man , The Hulk , Wonder Woman , and Batman represent super heroes to a far wider audience than that of the comics and graphic novels in which they appear. Disney have theme parks around the world which rely on the fame of its creations headed by Mickey Mouse. Thanks to the global reach of film and television characters like King Kong , Godzilla , The Flintstones , The Muppets and The Simpsons are instantly recognizable to millions. Certain fictional characters known from TV series have become so famous that their names are more well known than those of the actors who perform them.
A good example is Larry Hagman who played J. Ewing on the TV series Dallas. When his character was shot during a cliffhanger episode without the viewers knowing who was the killer, it caused a media hype around the question: By the time the answer was given in the first episode of the next season millions of people instantly recognized Hagman's face as J.
Some characters from video and computer games have developed a celebrity life beyond these media, such as Mario , Lara Croft and Pikachu. Certain advertising characters have also become iconic thanks to decades of constant merchandising, such as Ronald McDonald , Bibendum and Hello Kitty. Becoming a celebrity[ edit ] Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American actor, producer, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician, and former professional bodybuilder.
He served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from to People may become celebrities in a wide range of ways; from their professions, following appearances in the media, or by complete accident. The term "instant celebrity" describes someone who becomes a celebrity in a very short period of time. Someone who achieves a small amount of transient fame through, say, hype or mass media may become labeled a "B-grade celebrity". Often, the generalization extends to someone who falls short of mainstream or persistent fame but who seeks to extend or exploit it.
Success[ edit ] There are, of course, no guarantees of success for an individual to become a celebrity. Though celebrities come from many different working fields, most celebrities are typically associated with the fields of sports and entertainment, or a person may be a public figure who is commonly recognizable in mass media with commercial and critical acclaim.
Though glamour and wealth may certainly play a role for only famous celebrities, most people in the sports and entertainments spheres, be it music, film, television, radio, modelling, comedy, literature etc.
A small percentage of entertainers and athletes are able to make a decent living but a vast majority will spend their careers toiling from hard work, determination, rejection, and frequent unemployment. For minor league to amateur athletes, earnings are usually on the lower end of the pay-scale. Many of them take second jobs on the side or even venture into other occupations within the field of sports such as coaching, general management , refereeing , or recruiting and scouting up-and-coming athletes.
For instance, David Letterman is well known for branching into late night television as a talk show host while honing his skills as a stand-up comedian, Barbra Streisand ventured into acting while operating as a singer, or Clint Eastwood , who achieved even greater fame in Hollywood for being a film director and a producer than for his acting credentials.
Although it has become commonplace for celebrities to place their name with endorsements onto products just for quick money, some celebrities have gone beyond merely using their names and have put their entrepreneurial spirit to work by becoming entrepreneurs by attaching themselves in the business aspects of entertainment and building their own business brand beyond their traditional salaried activities.
Numerous celebrities have ventured into becoming business moguls and established themselves as entrepreneurs, idolizing many well known American business leaders such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. For instance, basketball legend Michael Jordan became an active entrepreneur involved with many sports related ventures including investing a minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats , Paul Newman started his own salad dressing business after leaving behind a distinguished acting career, and rap musician Birdman started his own record label , clothing line, and an oil business while maintaining a career as a rap artist.
Other celebrities such as Tyler Perry , George Lucas , and Steven Spielberg have become successful entrepreneurs through starting their own film production companies and running their own movie studios beyond their traditional activities of screenwriting, directing, animating, producing, and acting.