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5 Forever or Forgotten: Rascals & Reprobates - Part 3

Martha Stewart: FORGOTTEN

It's all very sad. Smart and sassy Martha Kostyra of Nutley, N.J., furiously determines to reinvent herself as the unimpeachable taste-maker Martha Stewart. She succeeds. She makes a billion dollars and becomes the go-to source of home-making advice for millions of America's upper middle class.

Then she throws it all away on a dodgy stock trade representing 0.01% of her net worth, or the equivalent of about $10 to the average American. Stewart's obstinate refusal to cop a deal with authorities and her very public trial and conviction confirmed the heretofore rumors that sweet-as-pie Martha was actually a money-grubbing meany.

But, God bless her, Martha soldiers on. Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) is still a viable concern, though the ongoing legal battle with Macy's (M) does not inspire confidence. And Stewart refuses to cede her role as America's (diminished) Domestic Diva. She always has some sort of cooking show in production, and she's even done a guest appearance on "Law & Order: SVU."

Punch line: While Stewart has acquitted herself well since being sprung from the pen, the first line of her New York Times obituary will inevitably underscore the fact that she's an ex-con. And then she'll be forgotten.

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