-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Lasting fame rarely
happens overnight, but once a person becomes truly famous they are
likely to stay that way for a very long time, a new study
Researchers analyzed the names mentioned in English-language
newspapers over several decades, and found that people who become
truly famous stay famous for decades. This is true in a wide range
of fields, including sports, politics and entertainment, they
The annual turnover in the group of famous names was very low.
Ninety-six percent of the people whose names were mentioned more
than 100 times in the newspapers in a given year were already in
the news at least three years before, according to the study
published in the April issue of the journal
American Sociological Review.
Although the reasons why a person becomes famous vary -- talent,
resources or chance events -- once someone becomes a household
name, they tend to stay that way, the study authors noted.
Temporary fame is unusual and primarily involves people in the
bottom rungs of the fame ladder, they explained.
In general, truly famous people follow career-like patterns of
rising to fame, remaining well-known and then gradually fading from
the scene, the researchers noted in a news release from the
American Sociological Association.
"We can all think of examples of both types, fleeting and long-term fame. [Singer-songwriter] Leonard Cohen is still well known today, over 40 years after he first became famous," said study co-leader Arnout van de Rijt, an assistant professor in the sociology department at Stony Brook University.
"But Chesley ['Sully'] Sullenberger, the pilot who received instant fame after safely landing a disabled plane on the Hudson [River in New York City], is a name that will likely be forgotten pretty quickly," he said in the news release.
"What we have shown is that Leonard Cohen is the rule and Chesley Sullenberger the exception," van de Rijt added.
The researchers said their findings contradict most previous
studies about the durability of fame.
The American Psychological Association has more about
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