Liz Hurley famously talked about people in the non-celebrity world as “civilians” and working with Maggie de Beer on her memoirs - "The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer" - has led me to think a little more deeply about why people like Liz and Maggie yearn so painfully to be famous and why they work so long and so hard to acquire and hold onto fame.
Maggie never really believed she existed until she read about herself in the papers or saw a picture of herself outside a theatre or flickering across a television screen. The moment she left home her family became invisible to her and only the faces she saw in the media remained real. The majority, those of us who are never photographed or filmed or talked about in the media, are a sort of grey wallpaper around the colourful contents of her celebrity room.
The media of course is a bigger playground now than it was when she first ran away from home in 1970. Now you can be famous simply for being on-line, for blogging, for having a YouTube video that goes viral. To Maggie that is not real fame, not the sort of iconic status that she dreamed of from the first moment she learned the legend of Marilyn Monroe, first saw the headlines that lifted Jackie O and Christine Keeler from the crowd, first felt the eyes of a crowd upon her.