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This volume was first published by Inter-Disciplinary Press in 2014.

For the typical celebrity, living in the limelight has never been particularly easy, and it seems to be getting harder every day. Although celebrity in the current century is similar to how it has been experienced in the past, the widespread availability of the Internet and its endless innovative potentialities have certainly brought about changes and new challenges. Today, it is not uncommon for this seemingly desirable cult of personality to, at times, take on an unexpected life of its own, sweeping unprepared celebrities along for the ride. To enable readers to grasp the cumulative complexity of contemporary celebrity culture, this book explores dynamics of the celebrity experience in recent centuries and up to the present day. In doing so, it explicitly analyses ever-changing phenomena of relevance to the celebrity experience, the importance and impact of fans and fandom(s), and the various pleasures and pitfalls that celebrities regularly encounter.
In: Disassembling the Celebrity Figure
In: Living in the Limelight: Dynamics of the Celebrity Experience

This chapter explores historically noteworthy challenges associated with celebrity status as an extreme burden in relation to the career trajectories of actress Marilyn Monroe (who died at the age of thirty-six) and lead singer Jim Morrison of the rock band The Doors (who died at the age of twenty-seven). More specifically, it demonstrates how the successful, highly influential construction of their star personas early in their careers severely restricted their subsequent attempts to take their careers in new, more fulfilling directions as the years progressed, resulting in substantially increased frustration that contributed to the worsening of their addictions as well as their untimely deaths at the heights of their fame. With regard to Monroe specifically, this chapter argues that the successful early establishment of her blonde bombshell star persona, frequently referred to simply as ‘The Girl,’ made it virtually impossible for Monroe to reinvent herself in the form of a serious actress as she desired, despite her growing professional association with Lee and Paula Strasberg of The Actors Studio and her intentionally deglamourized performances in later works such as Bus Stop and The Misfits. With regard to Morrison specifically, it reveals how the early emphasis on the singer’s striking good looks and intriguingly erratic behaviour quickly turned him into, in the 1969 assessment of rock journalist Liza Williams, ‘the ultimate Barbie doll,’ whom fans came to resent whenever he attempted to take his star persona in new directions (such as being taken seriously as a poet) and/or refused to sing the hit ‘Light My Fire’ on demand. In doing so, it explores the dark side of celebrity that trapped, and then ultimately contributed to the rapid demise, of these two talented performers.

In: Living in the Limelight: Dynamics of the Celebrity Experience