I wanted to include something to recognize my connection to Shirley Temple Black, in light of her death on February 10th of this year. This is the first chance I’ve had to include a few links to her life and work.
You can certainly go search YouTube for more, but I’ll tell you I’ve had a thing for Shirley Temple’s work ever since my sitter first wrapped my curly hair in vertical ringlets at a very tender age. I wanted dance lessons like crazy, I thought I could sing just like Shirley. I’m certain I wasn’t alone. Long, long after she stopped making movies, I was a staunch fan. I knew this song by heart, but it wasn’t the only one I could sing (in my own, off-key way):
In later years, after she ended her movie career at the top of her game, Shirley Temple Black became a diplomat, serving in a variety of locations. She also became one of the first public figures to highlight breast cancer, when she was diagnosed with the disease in 1972. She received lifetime recognition through both the Screen Actors Guild and the Kennedy Center Honors.
In the long, long list of child stars, Shirley Temple’s early works remain a sweet, sunny reminder of childhood’s best moments, even if her own life wasn’t among the fairy tales with which she became associated later in life. This biopic from 2001 tells a lot of her story. In a lot of ways, she led the way through a minefield for child stars, and she did it with poise and grace. I’m glad to have experienced her work.