Celebrity is fame and public attention in the media, usually applied to a person, group of people (celebrity couple, family, etc.), or, occasionally, to animals. Celebrity status is often associated with wealth (commonly referred to as fame and fortune) and fame can often provide opportunities to make money.
Successful careers in sports and entertainment are commonly associated with celebrity status;political leaders often become celebrities. People may also become celebrities due to media attention for their lifestyle, wealth, or controversial actions, or for their connection to a famous person.
Throughout recorded history there are accounts of people who attracted the trappings of celebrity which would be recognized today.
Athletes in Ancient Greece were welcomed home as heroes, had songs and poems written in their honor, and received free food and gifts from those seeking celebrity endorsement.Ancient Rome similarly lauded actors and notorious gladiators, and Julius Caesar appeared on a coin in his own lifetime (a departure from the usual depiction of battles and divine lineage).
In the 12th century, Thomas Becket became famous following his murder. He was promoted by the Christian Church as a martyr and images of him and scenes from his life became widespread in just a few years. In a pattern often repeated, what started out as an explosion of popularity (often referred to with the suffix ‘mania’) turned into a long-lasting flame: pilgrimages to Canterbury Cathedral, where he was killed became instantly fashionable and the fascination with his life and death have inspired plays and films.