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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