Gross, Michael Joseph
Gross, Michael Joseph
ADDRESSES: Home—CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Bloomsbury Publishing, 175 5th Ave., Ste. 300, New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Freelance writer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Discovery Award for nonfiction, PEN/New England, 2002.
Starstruck: When a Fan Gets Close to Fame (sociology), Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Boston Globe, Atlantic Monthly, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Nation, and Salon.com.
SIDELIGHTS: Freelance writer Michael Joseph Gross is the author of Starstruck: When a Fan Gets Close to Fame, a semi-memoir, semi-investigation about what makes the legions of movie-stars and musician fans tick. Gross was a fan himself as a teenager—he collected over 4,000 autographs and even managed to meet President Ronald Reagan—so he understands his subject. This personal knowledge allows Gross "to deliver piercing insights into the behavior of the fans he encounters and the stars with whom he crosses paths," Kristine Huntley noted in Booklist. Those fans include enthusiasts of singers Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton who Gross met at Neverland and Dollywood, respectively. Gross also interviews people who get paid to be fans, such as professional autograph collectors and entertainment journalists such as Mary Hart, host of Entertainment Tonight. On the star side, Gross recounts his relationship with actor Sean Astin (best known as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films), which is partly a friendship and partly something more professional. Because of this relationship Gross even gets to experience a touch of celebrity himself, when he passes through the gauntlet of fans on the red carpet with Astin before the Screen Actors' Guild awards. Through these anecdotes Gross examines several deep issues in the current American celebrity culture, including "the symbiotic economics of celebrity/fandom [and] the celebrity as saint in a secular religion," as Dave Szatmary noted in Library Journal.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, May 24, 2005, review of Starstruck: When a Fan Gets Close to Fame, p. 82.
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of Starstruck, p. 1117.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of Starstruck, p. 164.
Library Journal, March 15, 2005, Dave Szatmary, review of Starstruck, p. 102.
Los Angeles Magazine, May, 2005, Ariel Swartley, review of Starstruck, p. 134.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2005, review of Starstruck, p. 167.