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When a Fan Gets Close to Fame

Michael Joseph Gross

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Why are we so obsessed with fame? In Starstruck, former autograph hound and current entertainment journalist Michael Joseph Gross searches for the answer as he travels from Hollywood to Dollywood, Neverland to Middle Earth. He chases after Mick Jagger with a professional autograph collector; gets the inside scoop from Mary Hart on covering Hollywood for Entertainment Tonight; walks the red carpet with Sean Astin during The Lord of the Rings's Oscar championship season; and discovers what fans look like to the celebrities themselves—who often seem to be among the most starstruck of us all.

"Absorbing."—Michael Musto, Village Voice

"Jaw-dropping."—The Advocate

"Starstruck is a wonderful blend of insight, personal history, sociology, and hilarious gossip...I can't wait for people to start asking Gross for his autograph."—Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil

"Gross works the fame-shame equation with a piercingly funny perceptiveness."—East Bay Express

"Like an anthropologist trained in Hollywood culture, [Gross] understands the positive and negative results of adulation...Gross's writing is honest and humane, and his book is an entertaining look at modern celebrity culture."—Publishers Weekly

"It's hard to imagine a more important, underestimated, and vexing subject for America today than celebrity, and Michael Gross's treatment of the subject is everything one would hope it could be: thoughtful, generous, rigorous, and suspicious of cant."—Jim Shepard, author of Project X

Publishers Weekly Review

Feb 21, 2005 – As a youngster, Gross collected autographs, and although his passion for that hobby faded as he got older, his fascination with celebrity remained. Now a journalist (he's written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe and other publications), he explores the star system from both sides of the velvet rope. Gross interviews fans, collectors, celebrities and publicists in an effort to paint a broad portrait of changing celebrity culture. For instance, as a teenager in the 1980s, Gross enjoyed a personal correspondence with screen goddess Olivia de Havilland. Now, such personal access is rare: professional hounds get stars to autograph headshots, which they then sell on eBay. These pros can earn six figures a year, while minor celebrities, like 1950s and '60s actor Shirley Jones, charge $20 a pop for in-person signatures at signing conventions. Star power is a construct, explains Gross. Like an anthropologist trained in Hollywood culture, he understands the positive and negative results of adulation. Although his childhood collecting allowed him "to believe that I mattered," he concludes that the star images he worshiped were, in the end, damaging. They delivered "false idols whose lives present impossible standards for the rest of us." Gross's writing is honest and humane, and his book is an entertaining look at modern celebrity culture.
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Dec 01, 2008
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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