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The Importance of Being Famous

Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity-Industial Complex

Maureen Orth


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Vanity Fair's veteran special correspondent pulls back the curtain on the world of celebrity and those who live and die there

Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth always makes news. From Hollywood to murder trials to the corridors of politics, this National Magazine Award winner covers lives led in public, on camera, in the headlines. Here she takes us close-up into the world of fame-bridging entertainment, politics, and news-and the lives of those who understand the chemistry, the very DNA, of fame and how to create it, manipulate it, sustain it. Moving from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Michael Jackson, the ultimate child/monster of show business, Orth describes our evolution from a society where talent attracted attention to a place where the star-making machinery of the "celebrity-industrial complex" shapes, reshapes, and sells its gods (and monsters) to the public.
From divas letting their hair down (Tina Turner) to Little Gods (Woody Allen and Princess Diana's almost father-in-law Mohammed Fayed), political theater (Arnold's Hollywood hubris, Arianna Huttington's guru-guided gubernatorial quest), news-gone-soap-opera (I Love Laci), and even the Queen Mother of reinvention (Madonna as dominatrix/children's-book author), Orth delivers a portrait of an era. She shows us the real world of the big room where the rules that govern mere mortals don't matter-and anonymity is a crime.

Henry Holt and Co., 9780805075458, 384pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2004

About the Author

Maureen Orth's first book, "Vulgar Favors," appeared for three weeks on the N"ew York Times" bestseller list. One of the first women to write for "Newsweek," she has reported for many magazines and was a network correspondent for NBC News. She began at "Vanity Fair" in 1988. Her late husband was Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News and moderator of Meet the Press. She lives in Washington D.C.