Why are they famous?: Michael Flatley

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Indy Lifestyle Online
MAIN CLAIM: Hoofer to the masses. Cod-Irish showman with cringe- makingly vast ambitions. Now, mercifully, the Lord of the Dance star, 39, has announced plans to jack in his all-fiddling, all-stamping stage bonanza and grace the silver screen.

APPEARANCE: Ageing charioteer in low-budget Sixties Romans and lions flick. Sun-tanned rep for Balearic holiday outfit, twice divorced and on the pull. North-Western Region Star Trek fan club administrator.

FAME IS THE SPUR: Betrays a lifelong, bared-teeth desperation for fame, a history of flying sweat-beads and head-bands. Unknown until 1994, his destiny came in the shape of a seven-minute Irish jigging interval during the Eurovision. Our hero then dreamed up and choreographed the granny- pleasing stage show Riverdance, before being ousted from his own gig. Michael warmed it over, tinkered with it a bit, and produced the modestly- named show starring himself, Lord of the Dance.

HIGH KICKS: Much leg tossing, Gaelic crooning and showy-offy solos are the order of the day in a Flatley hoe-down. He allegedly drove his cast to work for 12 hours at a time. "He was manic," reveals one insider. Our hero tore his calf muscle days before the world premiere, but nothing would vanquish the doughty genius who is Lord of the Dance. Earned pounds 50,000 a week touring the US; now fancies becoming a top-billing Hollywood song- and-dance man.

BLARNEY: Despite his much-vaunted Hibernian roots, Flatley was actually born in Chicago. The merry little not-exactly-Irish leprechaun was World Irish dance champion at the age of 17. Flatley mostly seems to enjoy spending a great deal of his time showing the world how very marvellous he is. As Compton Miller says, reactions range from "drooling wonderment to impotent fury at such vaunting arrogance."

FAME PROSPECTS: The man with the legs allegedly insured for pounds 25m is not set to become the Fred Astaire de nos jours whatever he may think. A few naff cameos, the odd creaking comic role in a wacky kiddie movie, and a 30-year Las Vegas engagement, living in hotels with sun beds and entertaining ageing tourists, would seem a fair prediction. And top of the morning to you, Lord Michael.

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