Full Text


Philip Drake

Subject Communication Studies » Visual and Non-verbal Communication
Culture » Popular Culture

Key-Topics celebrity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


A star is an individual who is highly celebrated and deemed exceptional in a particular field or profession. The term has most commonly been associated with performers in popular media such as music, television, and, particularly, →  cinema . Stardom is closely linked to fame and celebrity (→  Celebrity Culture ), and these terms are often used interchangeably. The term “star,” which can be both noun (“a star”) and verb (“to star in”) originated in the popular American press of the early nineteenth century in relation to the expanding coverage of public figures and human interest stories. Articles in the so-called → “ penny press ” about popular performers of stage and vaudeville had the effect of expanding public interest in the names and qualities of these recognizable individuals. The film scholar Richard DeCordova (1990) has demonstrated that the institution of cinema was important to the expansion of stardom at the start of the twentieth century. He identifies an emergence of interest in “picture personalities,” and the subsequent naming of performers on screen and in film studio publicity material, as crucial in the development of the →  Hollywood film industry and its star system. It is often claimed that a publicity stunt in 1910 by the film studio IMP marked the start of the Hollywood star system . A false story about the death of popular actress Florence Lawrence was ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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