Some people set out to be famous; other people are made famous accidentally—and then they either run with it (see Levi Johnston) or don’t (see the guy that Dick Cheney shot). Newsweek runs down the top 10 accidental celebrities:
- Harry Whittington: He probably made Dick Cheney angry, and then the veep shot him just to prove that he’s so evil, Whittington would actually apologize to him for the incident later.
- Valerie Plame Wilson: The former CIA officer who was outed by the government calls her fame “celebrity of the worst kind.”
- Lynndie England: She will forever be an icon of the Iraq war thanks to a picture of her, cigarette dangling, pointing to a prisoner’s naked genitals.
- Jeremiah Wright: His anti-US sermons should have spelled the end of Barack Obama’s primary run, but thanks to a great speech on race, the candidate prevailed.
- Samuel Wurzelbacher: Once John McCain referred to him as Joe the Plumber, his celebrity was assured.
- Jessica Lynch: Symbolically Lynndie England’s polar opposite, she was the most famous POW of the Iraq war—but she quickly denied being a hero.
- Levi Johnston: He went from Sarah Palin’s unwed teenage daughter’s babydaddy to Kathy Griffin’s boytoy and the latest Playgirl nude model.
For the complete list, click the link at right.