I recently listened to an NPR interview with Ty Burr, author of Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame. The interview piqued my interest because it discussed how last century Hollywood movie studios would manufacture movie stars by essentially packaging young actors into what they wanted them to be. Among other things, this often involved:
- changing the actor’s name; for example, John Wayne’s real name was Marion Morrison.
- paying for plastic surgery if necessary
- and sometimes even paying off the actor’s spouse to get a divorce; it was more attractive for the star to be single.
The stars were considered property of the movie studio, and the studio executives would remold them as they saw fit. This may sound shocking because it deals with human beings, but is it much different from the way we brand things today?