Cult of Celebrity


The recent deaths of former child actors Andrew Koenig and Corey Haim demonstrate once again that all that glitters in the celebrity world is not all gold. Their struggles with depression and addiction show the not-so-pleasant side of fame. While these persons had trouble making the transition to adult acting, which didn’t help their underlying conditions, they are not the first actors to lose their way in the bright lights and big city of Hollywood.

Despite these deaths showing the dark side of celebrity life, there are people who follow the lives of celebrities as if they were friends and family. I don’t mean reading an article in the newspaper where an actor or actresses is talking about an upcoming film. What I do mean is reading loads of articles, following their every move on the Internet, scheduling your life around episodes of Entertainment Tonight and TMZ. Outside of eating, sleeping and going to work, their world is your world.

Studies have been done on the subject of celebrity worship and they have found that following a celebrity for purely entertainment purposes, such reading an article in the paper about a favorite actor’s new movie, is a harmless pastime. (Grohol) The trouble becomes when there are “…[i]ntense personal attitudes towards celebrities.” (Ibid) These attitudes can reflect neuroticism and the person following the celebrity can exhibit “…borderline pathological behavior and traits of psychoticism.” (Ibid)

The main product of Hollywood is fantasy. Everything that goes on in Hollywood is to support that product. Sometimes people both in and out of the industry forget that and choose not to deal with life as it really is, with its bills, jobs, chores and relationships that aren’t always so dreamy.  Engaging in fantasy, no matter how beautiful, won’t make reality go away.

So, to paraphrase John Lennon, “Life is what’s happening while your watching the umpteenth episode of E! True Hollywood Story.

Source:
Grohol, John M., Psy.D “The Psychology of Celebrity Worship” PsychCentral.Com November 23, 2008. <http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/11/23/the-psychology-of-celebrity-worship/&gt;

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