What Price Fame?

If you're anything like me, your number one New Year's resolution is to become famous--no matter what the cost! However, before we start the long, arduous search for a personal stylist, trainer, and fluffer, perhaps we should take a moment to consider the downsides of celebrity. Hmmmmmm... nope, I couldn't think of any, either. In that case, maybe some movies directed by former Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse (who was obsessed by the notion of fame) will demonstrate that while being a celebrity can be really great, it can also... kill.

All That Jazz (1979)--In the film that inspired a generation of really annoying theater majors, Roy Scheider plays dancer/ choreographer/lothario Joe Gideon (a dead ringer for writer/director Bob Fosse). In this thinly veiled (to the point of transparency) autobiography of Fosse's life, Gideon achieves his fame as a choreographer and promptly throws it all away by popping pills, screwing broads, and chain smoking 'til he finally drops dead from a heart attack (which is exactly what happened to Fosse ten years after this film was released. Oh, the delectable irony!).

Lenny (1974)--Obsessed as always by the concept of tragic fame (this time someone else's), Bob Fosse directs Dustin Hoffman in this dreary, but fascinating peek at the life of comedian Lenny Bruce. As one of the first comedians to work obscenities into his nightclub act, Lenny discovers the wonders of fame, fortune, drug addiction, and lawsuits, but by the time the movie ends, all the police will discover is his dead naked body on a seedy hotel room floor.

Star 80 (1983)--Think Fosse licked all his demons when he made All That Jazz and Lenny? Guess again! This time the Bobster takes a peek at fame and the porn industry in this fairly disturbing story about the short life of Playboy model Dorothy Stratten (Mariel Hemingway). Harelipped Eric Roberts plays Stratten's Svengali, who introduces her to all the right people... but when he doesn't get the fame he requires? He brutally murders Stratten and then eats a shotgun. (Kinda makes you think twice about attending that high school for the performing arts!) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY