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Worshipped as heroes, treated as gods, movie stars are more than objects of admiration. A star’s influence touches on every aspect of ordinary life, dictating taste in fashion, lifestyle, and desire. Edgar Morin’s remarkable investigation into the cultural and social significance of the star system traces its evolution from the earliest days of the cinema – when stars like Chaplin, Garbo, and Valentino lived at a distance from their fans, far beyond all mortals, to the postwar era in which stars like Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe became familiar and familial, less unapproachable but more moving, and concludes with an analysis of the furious religious adulation surrounding the life and death of James Dean.