EMBRYONIC CELEBRITY: The fame of a pre-born child of celebrity parents begins after the pregnancy is announced in the mass media. This is the only celebrity cycle without a name requirement.
NEONATAL CELEBRITY: Once the children of the very famous are born and named, their fame shoots off the charts. Extra credit for cool names like Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt and Suri Cruise.
FAMOUS IN YOUR OWN MIND: Each journey must begin with the first step.
CULT CELEBRITY: Comes from being unknown, aside from a small group of adoring cognoscenti. “Cult Celebrity” is precarious, as it often can drift upwards into actual fame, disqualifying cult status.
EARNED FAME: Years of training, hard work, persistence, talent and good luck that pay off.
OVERNIGHT CELEBRITY: With a little bit of luck, you can hop on the express train from no-name to instant acclaim.
SOPHOMORE SLUMP FAME TRIAL: The first test of a celebrity’s staying power. Repeating the work from “Overnight Celebrity” or “Earned Fame” will tag the celebrity as a one-trick pony; change things up and some may say they preferred the first album/movie/performance/show/novel/vice-presidential candidacy better.
GOLD STANDARD FAME: Examples include Meryl Streep, Mariano Rivera, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Sondheim, Yo-Yo Ma, Bob Dylan, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Joey Chestnut.
SHAPE-SHIFTING FAME: Just when you’ve had it up to here with Madonna, she serves up a new and improved model.
REALITY SHOW FAME: Eat rats, lose fat, sing pitchy, act bitchy, skydive, exchange wives, design clothes, give a rose, eat a cookie, grope Snookie.
WEIRD FAME: I don’t know who Heidi Montag is, but she had 10 plastic surgeries at one go.
BREAKDOWN CELEBRITY: Drugs, alcohol and bizarre behavior are usually forgivable, and can be pluses. Not so with spousal abuse, using the “N” word, anti-Semitic slurs or child abuse (unless you were Michael Jackson). Other negatives include robbing a gas station and public masturbation. Murder is probably the worst.
BREAKDOWN COMEBACK: In America, we believe that everybody deserves a second chance. Even total assholes.
RELAPSE FAME: What goes up often comes down again. And up again. And down again…
COMEBACK AFTER NEVER GOING AWAY: You’ve been working steadily and doing great work all these years? Really? We forgot all about you. Welcome back. Oh and… here’s your Oscar.
LEGEND: After enough Lifetime Achievement awards, people stop paying much attention to what you do, because they already know it’s sublime. (Remember last week’s post? Just like pizza from Grimaldi’s.)
DECEASED CELEBRITY: You may be gone Elvis, Marilyn and Bogie, but your brand lives on.
POST-DEMISE COMEBACK: That James Cameron sure can do anything.
Reid Rosefelt is a veteran film publicist based in New York City. He has promoted hundreds of films, for such diverse moviemakers as Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodóvar, Errol Morris, Ang Lee and Werner Herzog. His personal clients have included The Sundance Institute, IFC and HBO Films, as well as Harvey Keitel, Ally Sheedy and the late Adrienne Shelly. His production publicity credits include Desperately Seeking Susan, The Godfather: Part III and, most recently, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. His blog can be found at http://my-life-as-a-blog.com/.