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Hollywood Undead: The Posthumous Star as Commercial and Consumer Product

Fleming, Ann-Marie (2019) Hollywood Undead: The Posthumous Star as Commercial and Consumer Product. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:75518)

Language: English
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Posthumous star theory today, following scholar Gilbert B. Rodman (1996), continues a focus on a singular star's continued presence within a fan culture and/or a star's political resonance. This thesis, however, analyses the commercial exploitation of a posthumous star and exposes a hierarchical structure in the "after-market". Specifically, I examine the tropes and changes of four posthumous stars within advertising. I have chosen Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Audrey Hepburn to be the focus of this work due to their proven longevity in a consumer market.

Advertising is a rich site for exploring star brands and consumer messaging, and is particularly important in reference to the preferred reading of a posthumous star as dictated and approved by a star's estate. Consumer behaviour and interests are identifiable through the highly controlled renditions of a posthumous star, and thus, further exposes stardom as a way in which to guide and encourage the construction of identity through consumer goods.

Expanding on recent work on star brands, I analyse reoccurring methods which pervade these stars' images and which attempt to heighten relevancy and relatability. Comparison between these posthumous stars affords insight into what enables both continued legacy and marketability. The thesis also sheds light on the Fifties' prevalence in consumer culture and the nostalgia market, suggesting the success of these case study stars is in part due to a modern conception of a past era.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Jeffers McDonald, Tamar
Uncontrolled keywords: stardom, advertising, film
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 15:10 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Fleming, Ann-Marie.

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