Feat of Clay
So what if Arnold and company were only clay-action animated figures? Their satirical slice-and-dice brawls have made MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch (Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET) one of cable's hottest draws. Allow its mild-mannered, Manhattan-based creator, Eric Fogel, 29, to explain the show's appeal: "Fans live out this fantasy fight of people who would never be in a room together, let alone a wrestling ring."
On Long Island, N.Y., where he grew up "a loner," the older of two children of Martin, a car-service owner, and Irene, a high school teacher, cartoon buff Fogel would create his own toys out of clay or papier-mâché. The Mutilator, an animated sci-fi short he made as an NYU film student in 1991, caught the attention of some suits at MTV, which ran Fogel's first Deathmatch bout last fall: shock-rocker Marilyn Manson vs. his namesake, convicted killer Charles Manson. The real Marilyn was "pleasantly surprised," says Fogel. So was Mariah Carey. Her May 14 battle with Jim Carrey was "pretty funny," she says. "And I'm glad I won."