Those readers of a certain age should remember the mid-1980s through the early 1990s television show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, hosted by a celebrity reporter turned media personality, Robin Leach. From the files of – “Are you sure he’s not dead?” – we have it on good authority that the man best known for celebrating wretched capitalistic excess with bombastic fervor recently turned up alive and well in, of course, Las Vegas.
At 71 years of age, Leach decided to host a 30th reunion celebration of the original show. These days he spends his time in Sin City running an entertainment news website and doing charity work for Keep Memory Alive, an organization that researches neurocognitive disorders.
At this point, we’d like to make a short interjection. Good God, man, exactly what accent is that you’re talking with? Allegedly, it’s English Cockney. Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.
Young pups and recent converts to the Swank Life will find more than a passing resemblance between the two, as each pays tribute in its own way to earning lots of money and living the good life. Though the numbers have changed – Leach remembers back when he used to be impressed by a $10 million home; today it takes ten times that to make him blink – the game remains the same. Have a good time all the time and spend lots of money doing it.
In these schizophrenic times of security paranoia and people living out their most intimate moments on reality television, it’s hard to imagine a time when the truly wealthy and other random celebrities would throw open their doors to a team of wandering video cameras for the purpose of global broadcast. But maybe not so much when you consider this pearl of wisdom from Leach, as quoted on Yahoo Finance: “We were praising success more than we were praising wealth.”
There are no current plans to revive Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous either with the original host or a younger, sleeker version. But the recent celebration in Las Vegas gives us pause to reflect back on a time to a pioneering show that dared to poke its nose where others could not go, and begs the question, “How rich would you have to be to be lauded publicly today?” $10 million? Laughable. $100 million? Borderline. $250 million? Now it’s starting to get interesting. That quarter of a billion dollars happens to coincide with the estimated wealth of presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who Mr. Leach supports this election year, claiming President Obama is essentially a socialist.
Preach on, Mr. Leach, preach on. (Top image: Flickr | nelsontheroux)
The Jake Swank Team