The purpose of this research paper is to examine the celebrity phenomenon as it relates to consumer magazines produced in the United States. Boorstin's definition of the term celebrity is a broad one, encompassing
all persons who are known simply for their "well-knownness," regardless of vocation (Boorstin 57). For the purposes of this paper, this classification will be abridged, focussing solely on well-known persons or celebrities engaged in the dramatic arts. George Simmel, a first generation German sociologist whose work has had a seminal influence on the development of modern philosophy and sociology, addresses the role of the actor in shaping public opinion and, in turn, reality. More recently, scholars across a diversity of fields from sociology to film studies, such as Alberoni, Dyer, Gamson, Kellner, and Moran, have examined the influence of celebrities on societal values and culture. Film critic Richard Schickel has gone so far as to call celebrity "possibly the - most vital shaping (that is to say, distorting force) in our society" (xi).