Celebrity. A slow fall to certain death.

The dirty little secret about celebrity; it is mostly about compromise and failure. Eventually fame, like famous people, will die.

Ask Brad Pitt. He enjoyed only one week atop the box office when this weekend that jolly green ogre “Shrek” displaced his “Troy” which dropped 49% after its first week.

Avril Lavigne is finding it difficult to sustain the popularity secured by her breakthrough debut album, which succeeded because of big doses of honesty, sincerity awkwardness and confusion. As she gets older she is trying to avoid the sex goddess path followed by many artists evolving from teen star to twenties sexy vixen status, but what is a girl to do when album sales sag?

Jessica Simpson’s new variety show has been cancelled before airing even once. She’s heading out on a forty-some city tour and a NYT critic points out she’s hot because of her ditzy sitcom not her music, daring listeners “quick, name one of her songs!”

Neil Sedaka has had a hit, either written or performed by him, in every decade since the 60’s, yet what mattered most to him, his Jewish roots, was kept from the public view. Only now at the age of 65 is he singing the Yiddish songs of his youth.

American Idol reject William Hung, was a favorite act among the “known and unknown at Zootopia, and he outsold Courtney Love on the Billboard charts prompting one critic, Malcolm Abram to observe, “Celebrity status, no matter how brief or infamous, has become so important, so desired in American culture, that it doesn’t seem to matter anymore how it is attained. Hopefully, this experience will do Hung well and he’ll make a little bit of money that he can put toward his studies. Already a dentist has offered to fix his teeth for free (publicity). But seriously unit sales approaching 40,000? Who are these people?”

Being a performer means talking risks, exemplified at its most extreme by circus performers, one of whom, chiffon scarf aerial artist Dessi Espana, 32, fell thirty feet to her death while performing without a net over a concrete floor.

Most performers don’t literally lose their lives while performing, but many find their lives cut short as abruptly and without warning. Two cast members of the Keifer Sutherland’s “24″ series were informed their contracts were not being renewed just as they were heading out to attend a party with advertisers.

Whether the fall is literal or metaphorical the old saying is still in effect, “The show must go on.”

Celebrities revered by an adoring public pay a very high price for fame, which is usually fleeting, always accompanied by angst and uncertainty, and is almost certain to run its course to obscurity and abandonment by fickle fans who, after all, never really knew them anyway.

Not everybody is so heartless. After chiffon scarf aerial artists Dessi Espana, 32, fell to her death, one mother left the performance with her two young daughters, who she said were distraught. “They were really distraught, especially because the ringmaster started up again like nothing had happened.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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  • ‚©CRS Communications 5/24/04

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