This fascinating examination of American celebrity asks, "What happens when your fifteen minutes are over?"
In the decades since Andy Warhol made his infamous prognosis that, in the future, everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes, celebrity has indeed become one of America's greatest growth industries. In The Sixteenth Minute, Jeff Guinn and Douglas Perry explore the treacherous aftermath of fame, bringing depth and insight to a subject that is often treated as superficially as the people who temporarily achieve it.
In a world where, as social historian Leo Braudy put it, "The world of images is so much better than real life," what happens when the spotlight clicks off? For their book, Guinn and Perry interviewed an array of individuals who experienced Warhol's "fifteen minutes" and survived, some more happily (and successfully) than others. The book's subjects span the celebrity spectrum from politics (former Speaker of the House Jim Wright) to professional sports (onetime Great White Hope Gerry Cooney) to entertainment (Fame diva Irene Cara), and, of course, reality TV (a rare glimpse of American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson as she frets about how to remain in the spotlight she craved from childhood).
No one who experiences fame walks away the same. All the men and women profiled in The Sixteenth Minute have had to move on with their lives. Often, they found ways to reclaim their self-respect, if not always their reputations. In a few in-stances, the desire to recapture former glory eclipsed common sense with predictably painful results. In every case, their experiences reflect our culture, where fame is often considered the ultimate life achievement.