When did being a celebrity start?

Film historian Richard Schickel cites the beginning of the modern celebrity system to the period between 1895 and 1920. When does fame become something like what we see today? In the 1500s and 1600s, people became interested in actors, playwrights, and humanists. In the 18th century, the increase in literacy and cheaper and faster ways of printing gave us public intellectuals such as Rousseau, Byron and Voltaire. They were well known not only for what they wrote but for what they were.

Celebrity is a condition of fame and wide public recognition of a person or group as a result of media attention. A person can achieve celebrity status by having great wealth, their participation in sports or the entertainment industry, their position as a political figure, or even because of their connection with another celebrity.


are portrayed alternately as shining examples of perfection, when they win awards, or as decadent or immoral if associated with scandal. Social networks humanize celebrities in a way that arouses public fascination, as evidenced by the success of magazines such as Us Weekly and People Weekly.

Sharon Marcus, Orlando Harriman professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia, explores self-promotion and stardom in her new book, The Drama of Celebrity. In her book, she maintains that the French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1892) is the first modern celebrity model. In the second half of the century, television and popular music brought new forms of celebrity, such as the rock star and the pop group, personified by Elvis Presley and the Beatles, respectively. So while celebrity culture isn't always necessarily a good thing, we can't rule it out as something superficial or empty.

The average businessman who isn't well known and doesn't have a good reputation among the general public doesn't have the same marketing flexibility and status quo that most celebrities allow and have. However, celebrity was not always linked to actors in movies, especially when cinema began as a medium. Social media and the rise of smartphones have changed the way celebrities are treated and the way people gain fame. Obviously, the celebrities of the 18th century didn't have nearly the same kind of neon intensity and energy as they did in the modern era.

To stay in the public eye and generate wealth in addition to their salaried work, numerous celebrities participate and branch out into various commercial ventures and sponsorships. In addition to investing their salaries in growing business ventures, several celebrities have become innovative business leaders in their respective industries, earning the admiration of their peers and contributing to the country's economy. Writer and actor Michael Musto said: You have to go through a lot of obstacles just to talk to a major celebrity. I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens to celebrity culture when it stops being a set of common reference points.

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Debora Cantv
Debora Cantv

Unapologetic beer evangelist. Amateur web buff. Passionate pop culture fanatic. Friendly travel fanatic. Hardcore music advocate. Proud zombie geek.