Historians will never reach the same level of fame as their subject matter. However, Voltaire was close. It would be hard for an historian to compete with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
Sure, historians like Karl Marx, John Milton and Saul Bellow made names for themselves, but did their fame exceed their work? No way. However, you may have such a good personality that they at least give you a television show.
Simon Schama is a famous British art historian who has made his way into the limelight. Not only is he a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, but he is also a television personality. Schama wrote a series for the BBC called Landscape and Memory. His show was a success, and he went on to produce documentary programs such as A History of Britain, Simon Schama’s Power of Art and The American Future: A History to name a few. His books sell like hotcakes, too.
Schama’s televisions shows and books strive to form a personal connection with his audience, as if he is sharing a story rather than merely recounting historical events. You can achieve fame if you make your work accessible to a wide audience, and not just to the other stiffs at the museum.