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What do you call a person who craves fame and fortune, or wants to be recognized for something?

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1  
Perhaps 'insecure'? –  WS2 Dec 18 '13 at 9:46
    
‘Paris Hilton’? –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 18 '13 at 11:30

5 Answers 5

You could call them an attention-seeker or fame-seeker.

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I don't know if you can use these, but they mean some aspect of what you have asked.

yearning: feeling a powerful desire for something. Yearn stresses the depth and passionateness of a desire: to yearn to get away and begin a new life; to yearn desperately for recognition.

ambitious: having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.

aspiring: directing one's hopes or ambitions toward becoming a specified type of person.

desirous: longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment; a desire for fame.

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Many associate fame with fortune, thinking that both go hand in hand. The concept of instant stardom bringing wealth, notoriety, photos on magazine covers and automatic access to red carpet events still holds strong despite the various flops of winners on so-called talent shows.

Therefore, I would argue that many of today's younger generation are mostly concerned with becoming celebrities themselves. A fairly recent coinage, 1981, is the expression wannabe, a person who either wants to be or imitates someone famous.
Merriam-Webster provides this definition

a person who tries to look or act like someone else (such as a famous person) : a person who wants to be a particular person or type of person

Taken to its extreme a person, usually a woman, obsessed with being famous at any cost is said to be a famewhore (sometimes spelt as two words). I looked online but this expression isn't listed in any online dictionary with the exception of Urban Dictionary.

An individual who is willing to do anything, regardless of how humiliating or demeaning, to achieve notoriety.

More often than not, this involves appearing on multiple reality television shows and/or having "private" sex videos "leaked" to the press.

There's a Youtube video; safe for work but you probably wouldn't want your boss to know you were watching it, entitled "I'm a Fame Whore", and there the young man gives his own interpretation of the word.

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It seems that it is easier to find suggestions that offer something towards fame or fortune but the one word that I think describes both is:

Megalomaniac

  1. A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
  2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
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Vainglorious

Someone who seeks fame and glory to aggrandize themselves, instead of encouraging others to perform noble, difficult and worthy deeds.

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