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Shirley Temple Black, 1928 - 2014
February 11, 2014 3:11 AM   Subscribe

Shirley Jane Temple Black, actress and US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, has passed away, aged 85.
posted by crossoverman (136 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
A last vestige of Hollywood lore. RIP, Shirley.

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posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo at 3:13 AM on February 11


As a child I remember visiting a museum in Los Angeles (near the rose garden) that had a room dedicate to all the dolls she was given -- they were from all over the world, and a few were life-sized.

I was absolutely green with envy.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:19 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Goodnight, Bright Eyes.
posted by fairmettle at 3:28 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


There was an interesting article about her autobiography in the New Yorker.
posted by pracowity at 3:41 AM on February 11 [17 favorites]


I have three reactions:
1. She was still alive?
2. US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia? Really? Gosh.

and
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posted by Mezentian at 3:41 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


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posted by Smart Dalek at 3:43 AM on February 11


On The Good Ship Lollipop
posted by pracowity at 3:44 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by oonh at 3:54 AM on February 11


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posted by Spatch at 3:54 AM on February 11


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posted by jacanj at 3:55 AM on February 11


Oh my, the end of an era indeed. The people she must have known and met in her lifetime, all legends.

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posted by infini at 3:57 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:58 AM on February 11


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posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:01 AM on February 11


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posted by sammyo at 4:01 AM on February 11


One of my old co-workers used to sing this to me all the time,since my full name scans exactly with "animal crackers."



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posted by louche mustachio at 4:02 AM on February 11


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And I didn't know she was briefly married to John Agar. He was a perennial target of mockery on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:04 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 4:05 AM on February 11


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The kid could dance. Nearly 80 years ago, with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, in 'The Little Colonel' (1935).
posted by On the Corner at 4:08 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


.Bill Bojangles Robinson and Shirley Temple
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:13 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by Token Meme at 4:14 AM on February 11


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But not the last vestige of her time in Hollywood. We still have Mickey Rooney a contemporary who went back to silent pictures and Baby Peggy who virtually had her entire career in silents.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:23 AM on February 11 [6 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 4:25 AM on February 11


Many thanks, flapjax; you've posted the very link I failed so to do!
posted by On the Corner at 4:33 AM on February 11


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She was beautiful and talented, and she was also a classy person. Many children who grow up in that sort of spotlight don't grow up to be very healthy adults, I think, and Ms. Temple Black was really a spectacular lady.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:36 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


I can't believe the (sleazy?) title for her photo in the newspaper announcing her ambassadorship to Ghana:

"Shirley Temple Black
Her job is not always romantic…"
posted by oceanjesse at 4:36 AM on February 11


And in the same article, she speaks out against apartheid.

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posted by oceanjesse at 4:40 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


I loved her movies that they would often show on television in the 1950's. She is definitely an icon in my life. I wish her Godspeed, for I believe in such things.
posted by rmmcclay at 4:46 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Her "The Little Princess" was the first VHS tape I owned, which fueled a childhood of building pillow/blanket forts that were my imaginary garret where I would read and pretend to be a princess fallen on hard times.

I totally don't still do that.
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posted by donajo at 4:46 AM on February 11 [22 favorites]


Exactly where and when did FDR supposedly say "as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right"? I'm not saying he didn't say it, but everything I've found so far just declares that he said it.
posted by pracowity at 4:48 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by Thorzdad at 4:55 AM on February 11


I remember reading that when Vaclav havel took over the Czech Republic, two of his first state guests were Shirley Temple and Frank Zappa. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall on that plane ride.

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posted by jonmc at 5:04 AM on February 11 [21 favorites]


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posted by Anitanola at 5:07 AM on February 11


It seems silly to even say it (a short shelf life is kind of the defining characteristic of a child star) but it's still amazing to realize just how short a time she was a "child star" - world-famous at six, washed up at twelve. Makes it all the more amazing that she was able to have such a full and successful life afterwards.
posted by Curious Artificer at 5:07 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


Shirley Temple and the Greatest Piece of Film Criticism Ever Written

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posted by jonp72 at 5:13 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by rahnefan at 5:16 AM on February 11


The people she must have met and known in her life.
posted by three blind mice at 5:20 AM on February 11


I have three reactions:
1. She was still alive?
2. US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia? Really? Gosh.

and
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Seconding all three of these.

I don't know if she ever struggled to get back in the limelight or not. I'd like to think she aged gracefully and with dignity. I cannot imagine celebrities of our age doing the same.
posted by GrapeApiary at 5:21 AM on February 11


Wow, that Wee Willie Winkie review! No wonder Greene had to flee the country. That is two seriously inflammatory paragraphs.
posted by not that girl at 5:23 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by localroger at 5:25 AM on February 11


It seems really odd to me that Shirley Temple was only 7 years older than Burt Reynolds.
posted by biffa at 5:28 AM on February 11 [17 favorites]


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:31 AM on February 11


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Oh, my dad will be so sad.
posted by oneironaut at 5:41 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Good grief, Baby Peggy. Born in 1918, a $1.5 million contract in 1923, does all own stunts, blacklisted 1926, family penniless by 1929.
posted by cromagnon at 5:42 AM on February 11


...washed up at twelve
Since You Went Away and The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer were made when she was in her teens.


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posted by brujita at 5:42 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


She was the gold standard for young performers. She managed to remain smart, funny and affecting without ever being self-conscious or annoying, and transitioned to an adult life of grace and dignity.

This news made me very, very sad.

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posted by kinnakeet at 5:48 AM on February 11 [10 favorites]


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posted by blob at 5:49 AM on February 11


PS sometimes when I post a . it is for a person. This feels bigger... the drawing of a curtain over an era forever.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:50 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


She managed to remain smart, funny and affecting without ever being self-conscious or annoying, and transitioned to an adult life of grace and dignity.

To be fair, she lived in an era before 24/7 coverage.
How she survived is a miracle as it was.
How "stars" today do and do so unscathed? No idea.
posted by Mezentian at 5:51 AM on February 11


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posted by Renoroc at 5:52 AM on February 11


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posted by Cash4Lead at 5:56 AM on February 11


A few years ago, someone I met who was spending his first year in the United States from the UAE ordered a Shirley Temple at some sports bar we were at, and the significance of that was completely lost on me until just now.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:00 AM on February 11


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posted by pjern at 6:05 AM on February 11


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posted by radwolf76 at 6:10 AM on February 11


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posted by koucha at 6:11 AM on February 11


My mother used to say that she was thrilled as a kid to have been born the same year as Shirley Temple and Elizabeth Taylor..... then the year when they supposedly all turned twelve it came out that Shirley Temple's parents had actually lied to her about her birthyear to keep her 'younger' & therefore more marketable to the studios (it was actually 1928 instead of 1929) --- Shirley was turning 13, not 12. On the other hand, over the following decades Elizabeth Taylor got a couple years younger.

Ms. Temple Black's movies are a guilty pleasure of mine; I think I'll watch a couple this evening while drinking a Shirley Temple in her honor.
posted by easily confused at 6:16 AM on February 11


My mom was named after her. Shirley Temple (Last name). She hated it. I thought it was adorable and as a little girl, I would run around singing Shirley Temple songs tormenting her.

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My mom is gone too.

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posted by little miss s at 6:16 AM on February 11 [9 favorites]


Having spent three hours with this news:
Do you think she HATED the Good Ship Lollipop?
posted by Mezentian at 6:19 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Shirley Temple also did a good job as Henry Fonda's daughter in Fort Apache. I think she may have met her future husband John Agar while working on another cavalry western.

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posted by jonp72 at 6:21 AM on February 11


Shirley Temple sings in Japanese! (1937)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:22 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


I have three reactions: 1. She was still alive? 2. US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia? Really? Gosh.

I knew that she'd grown up to become an ambassador, but, frankly, I'm a little surprised to learn she was still alive, too. And I had no idea that she'd been married to John Agar, the two-fisted scientist from such movies as Revenge of the Creature and The Mole People! (Tho' if Agar was as insufferable as he was in The Mole People, it's no wonder Temple divorced him.)

I think Shirley Temple was my dad's first crush. His old Shirley Temple glass and bowl are still at my mom's house somewhere.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:27 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


i loved her so much. she meant more to me than i can even say. through a pretty shit childhood in the 80s i would cling to her movies. when i was extra sick or they needed me out of their hair, my parents would rent a stack of her movies and set me up in my room with the black and white tv and i'd stay in there for hours. any time i got the chance i'd order a shirley temple (i still have an unhealthy love for maraschino cherries and grenadine). i'm glad she died at home surrounded by loved ones. i hope it was as peaceful as it could have been.
posted by nadawi at 6:27 AM on February 11 [9 favorites]


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posted by Elly Vortex at 6:28 AM on February 11


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posted by Atreides at 6:30 AM on February 11


Sparkle, Shirley, sparkle!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:34 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Jonp72, I read that article years ago and for me the creepy tone of it kind of obscured the point Greene was making. For anybody who hasn't read it, Greene affects this kind of Humbert Humbert-ian tone, writing about Temple's persona. If you were a Temple fan, this would be a particularly bad day to read it.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:40 AM on February 11


From the above-linked New Yorker piece:

Shirley Temple made movies for nine more years, but in anything post-Pearl Harbor she is unrecognizable—shellacked, stunned, and mousy. We’re used to child actors going through murderous, disfiguring puberties, but Shirley’s the only one who got snuffed.

Wow.
posted by Think_Long at 6:40 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


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Still love the movie "The Blue Bird (1940)"
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 6:43 AM on February 11


I just found out that I was wrong all those years I thought she was married to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. I have no idea how I came by the idea.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:46 AM on February 11


My grandmother never talked about her that I can remember, but when she was being silly she often talked in that same cutesy baby-voice and made the same moue with her lips. It was one of those things I discovered later in life, after she had died -- THAT'S where I've seen/heard that before! I'm sure that she watched those movies at an impressionable age, and it stuck. So this just makes me miss my grandma.

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posted by Mchelly at 6:48 AM on February 11


Also I love that her name may become immortal among kids because of the drink.
posted by Mchelly at 6:49 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Her autobiography, Child Star, is a really interesting look into Hollywood history and goes into detail about the lengths that her parents went to to ensure that she had as normal a life as possible.

Rest in peace, Shirley.
posted by corey flood at 7:01 AM on February 11 [5 favorites]


....been born the same year as Shirley Temple and Elizabeth Taylor.

IMDB lists Taylor's birth year as 1932. Lassie Come Home and Jane Eyre were released in 1943 and she looks 10/11 in them.
posted by brujita at 7:01 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


My mother loved her, and some of my earliest memories are of sitting with her on her big queen size bed watching Shirley Temple movies on the little black and white TV.

My mother was born just a year after Shirley Temple, and had surgery for breast cancer about a year after her. I can only think that Shirley Temple's speaking out the way she did must of been a source of strength for my mom. Sadly, my mom only lived a few years longer. But maybe they're dancing together now. If there are welcome committees up in Heaven my mom is surely up there now welcoming Shirley Temple to her next stage.
posted by alms at 7:11 AM on February 11


I adored her in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, probably my favorite of her movies. I can't think of many eighteen-year-olds who could have held their share of the screen against Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. (Yes, spending 15/18 in the business helps, but still.)

And those dance chops seemed preternatural to me - I could barely walk in a straight line at the age when she was doing a competition number with Bill F'ing Robinson.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:11 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


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Quoth Glenn Kenny: "She may have been her most on-the-mark critic when she put herself in the category of Rin-Tin-Tin, not by way of diminishing her own gifts, but in recognizing her precocious persona as a shiny object that could bring cheer to fed-up, downtrodden folks seeking distraction."
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:12 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Her autobiography, Child Star, is a really interesting look into Hollywood history and goes into detail about the lengths that her parents went to to ensure that she had as normal a life as possible.


Agreed! I read it as a kid, so my memory is a little spotty, but she apparently had a genius level IQ, and there are a lot of fun anecdotes in the book - like hanging out with Eleanor Roosevelt, dancing with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and one time when she was first famous, some random people stopped by the house (total strangers) and her mother tried to make her dance for them, and she refused.

It seems like she had a really great life. RIP.
posted by sweetkid at 7:16 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


And her daughter Lori played bass with The Melvins.
posted by zippy at 7:20 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


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posted by cass at 7:21 AM on February 11


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posted by condour75 at 7:21 AM on February 11


I am saddened by this news. An amazing actress and someone who went on to have an admirable adult life.

I was raised on a steady diet of Shirley Temple movies, but it was The Little Princess I was most obsessed with. I've seen that movie a million times and...

[SPOILERS]


...at the end? When she finds her dad but he's shell-shocked and doesn't recognize her, and all her efforts to be brave and optimistic in such terrible circumstances just crumble because she just wants her daddy back? God. It kills me every time.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:25 AM on February 11 [7 favorites]


As a Labyrinth fan, I was surprised and delighted to find this routine first performed by Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer:

"You remind me of a man."
"What man?"
"The man with the power."
"What power?"
"The power of hoo doo."
"Who do?"
"You do!"
"Do what?"
"Remind me of a man."
etc...
posted by LEGO Damashii at 7:25 AM on February 11 [11 favorites]


I know it's passe to say "mind blown" but... that.

I'm unsure why the hellishly old man is escorting the lovely Miss Temple top the picnic, but I hope it makes sense.
posted by Mezentian at 7:30 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


And her daughter Lori played bass with The Melvins.

Shirley Temple's daughter apparently is bad to cats.
posted by pracowity at 7:33 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


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The tap dancing of Shirley and Bill Robinson is amazing. Never get tired of watching them together.
posted by Melismata at 7:52 AM on February 11


period

(seeing if others copy me)
posted by Colonel Panic at 8:02 AM on February 11


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posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:04 AM on February 11


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posted by bearwife at 8:05 AM on February 11


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posted by cazoo at 8:14 AM on February 11


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posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 AM on February 11


Since You Went Away and The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer were made when she was in her teens.

Yes, but she was not the star of those vehicles. (Which was fine.)
posted by Melismata at 8:42 AM on February 11


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posted by drezdn at 8:46 AM on February 11


My grandmother, like many of her generation, was a lifelong Shirley Temple fan, and the fact that she went on to be an international ambassador for the US was always a source of pride. She presented an impossible model of cheerful, industrious, charitable girlhood but at the same time brought so much natural humanity to her roles that it didn't seem inauthentic or faked.
posted by muddgirl at 8:58 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Oh my, one of my childhood icons, gone baby gone. I was mesmerized by her performances which were played on TV with great regularity in the early 1960's. I even had a large-size Shirley Temple paper doll at one time with lots of frilly dresses to dress it with.

Thanks for the memories, Ms Shirley! ♥
posted by Lynsey at 9:05 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Tonight I'm going to raise a glass of ginger ale and grenadine in her honor.
posted by happyroach at 9:06 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by whistle pig at 9:12 AM on February 11


My son has been drinking Shirley Temples for years and I have to admit that if asked, i could not have said she was still alive. This speaks to her life lived in quiet dignity as much as anything else I think.
While I don't think it will be much to his liking, we will sit down and watch an hour or so in her memory and I will harken back, like Lynsey above, to those sunday mornings in the 60's when there was nothing else on tv but those glorious old chestnuts.

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posted by OHenryPacey at 9:17 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


An utterly fascinating individual, who, as near as I can (feebly) tell, left a more positive world than she found (which is as much as anyone can ask of another human being).

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posted by grubi at 9:22 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the memories you have left us.

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posted by blurker at 9:24 AM on February 11


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I will always remember her as Heidi with the snow globe.
posted by Mittenz at 9:24 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


Melisamata, SYWA is an ensemble picture and Temple is the Bobbysoxer of the title; she had equal billing with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.
posted by brujita at 9:41 AM on February 11


When I was a kid, boys would ask for a Roy Rogers if they wanted the gingerale grenadine drink.
posted by brujita at 9:44 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Tonight I'm going to raise a glass of ginger ale and grenadine in her honor.

You can do more than that. crush-onastick posted this recipe link to my cocktail AskMe a while back, the Shirley Temple Black.
posted by hwyengr at 9:52 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid, boys would ask for a Roy Rogers if they wanted the gingerale grenadine drink.

A Roy Rogers is cola and grenadine.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:16 AM on February 11 [6 favorites]


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posted by Vibrissae at 10:21 AM on February 11


It seems really odd to me that Shirley Temple was only 7 years older than Burt Reynolds.

OTOH, her movie career started 25 years before his. That's a whole generation.
posted by smackfu at 10:26 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


"When the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time during this Depression, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles."

...and then she grew up to do even more than that.

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posted by droplet at 10:39 AM on February 11


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posted by luckynerd at 10:42 AM on February 11


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posted by Amplify at 10:48 AM on February 11


Good Ship Lollipop got me through some times when I was a kid.

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posted by Lutoslawski at 10:50 AM on February 11


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posted by Didymium at 11:02 AM on February 11


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posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 11:21 AM on February 11


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posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:49 AM on February 11


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posted by jessian at 12:12 PM on February 11


This obit in the NYT is amazing.

"When any of the two dozen children in 'Baby Burlesks' misbehaved, they were locked in a windowless sound box with only a block of ice on which to sit. 'So far as I can tell, the black box did no lasting damage to my psyche,' Mrs. Black wrote in 'Child Star.' 'Its lesson of life, however, was profound and unforgettable. Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble.'"
posted by buriedpaul at 12:23 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Another great story: Shirley Temple Black got Cesar Chavez to deliver one of his most memorable speeches.

"Cesar was hesitant at first because Mrs. Black was a well-known Republican and had served as President Nixon’s ambassador to Ghana.

Cesar and Mrs. Black had lunch together on the dais before the speech and got along like old friends. They shared common interests in gardening and vegetarianism. Mrs. Black related how she had been a member of the Screen Actors Guild as a child actor and maintained her membership in the union over the years so as to support other young actors. Much later when she had to undergo breast cancer surgery, Mrs. Black was surprised to discover the costs were covered because of her SAG membership."
posted by mogget at 12:34 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


> This obit in the NYT is amazing.

Yes, it is.

"She had sat on 200 famous laps and found J. Edgar Hoover’s the most comfortable."

Um...
posted by zbsachs at 12:52 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Many years ago, I saw a documentary in which she was interviewed about her relationship with Bill Robinson, about whom she spoke very enthusiastically. She recalled rehearsing a number with him in Florida, where she had been sent to recover from an illness, and being puzzled that he wouldn't let her see where he was staying. Finally, he admitted that he had been housed above a garage with the chauffeur. "Don't worry," he told an obviously shocked Temple, "he's my chauffeur." In general, she observed, the white adults went out of their way to conceal from the children how the African-American performers were treated because, she said (in a scathing tone of voice), "they knew it was wrong."
posted by thomas j wise at 1:07 PM on February 11 [11 favorites]


One of my family's bullshit claims to fame (we all have them, no?) is that Shirley Temple rented the beach house, which I later grew up in, for a summer. Or her parents did on her behalf.
posted by Danf at 1:21 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


So many memories are tied up in Shirley for me.

My grandma opening up the cedar chest and showing me her well-loved Shirley Temple doll.

My grandpa making me a Shirley Temple as ceremoniously as the adults' Manhattans.

My multiple viewings of The Little Princess (where'd the "the" come from?) and reveling in Shirley dumping that hod of coal on top of that bitch, Lavinia.

I recently revisited her autobiography and was shocked at what it contained. Not only did Shirley experience sexual harassment and abuse during her work and a very unnaturally contrived childhood that allowed no puberty, no reality really, but her parents squandered her ENTIRE fortune (she discovered this upon her second marriage).

Shirley was classy and decided not to sue the snot out of them. In fact, she continued to be one classy lady.

Rest in peace, Shirley, and thanks for what you meant to the little girl still inside me.
posted by mynameisluka at 2:20 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


I remember coming home from church on Sundays and the local tv station always had a Shirley Temple movie on, my dad and I would have lunch and watch together.

I also remember her movies were some of the ones that were colorized in order to get a new generation of little girls interested in her - as if color could improve anything with Shirley in it, right? When I worked at Blockbuster Video I made the manager order all of her movies in black and white and take the colorized abominations off the shelf.

Rest in peace, Shirley, thanks for sharing your talent with the world.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:57 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


i was crushed when my local video store switched to the colorized versions. i spent more than i should have on a dvd collection a few years later because, while they included the colorized versions, the flip side of the disc was black and white, as the good flying spaghetti monster intended!
posted by nadawi at 3:28 PM on February 11


I hate to be the spoiler here, but please remember that Ms. Temple Black supported a lot of things that many people here do not.

She was a conservative, pro-war Republican all her life, and a close personal friend of both Nixon and Reagan. She strongly supported Nixon, even after it was clear that he'd personally committed crimes.

More, she was a cheerleader for the Vietnam War.

In my view, she's one of the people responsible for the mess we're in now.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:26 PM on February 11


I hate to be the spoiler here

There's always one.
posted by crossoverman at 4:28 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]


http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/LT001673/vaclav-havel-and-shirley-temple

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posted by ocschwar at 7:11 PM on February 11


I was very surprised to see this news today, because I was literally thinking about her yesterday and wondering how she was doing. Whatever her political views, she is a unique 20th century figure.

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posted by LobsterMitten at 7:13 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Every single person who ever saw one of her films, or even a clip from one of her films, was, for that moment in time, a better person from the experience.

I dare say that also applies to anyone who ever met or worked with her throughout her life.


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posted by Quasimike at 8:36 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


As it states in the NYT obit, Temple Black was "widely credited with helping to make it acceptable to talk about breast cancer." She probably saved countless lives by making her experience public.

At the UN, she worked hard for aid to the aged, refugees and for environmental issues.

Aside from that, everyone who ever worked with her said she was a complete delight to be around. I am so sad she's gone.

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posted by OolooKitty at 8:46 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


> There's always one.

Clever comment - unfortunately false. Most of the obituary threads on Metafilter have no one in this role.

People are responsible for their own actions. The fact that she chose to spend a great deal of her life working for unfair causes that have caused and continue to cause great misery for countless millions of people should not just be papered over.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:56 PM on February 11


People are responsible for their own actions.

Correct. If she is responsible for being a "war hawk on the campaign trail" - an unsuccessful campaign - she is also responsible for "speaking out on issues such as environmental problems and refugee crises." (from the same post you linked to.)

I mean, I know she was a Republican, but I don't know how her positions at the UN and as Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia makes her "one of the people responsible for the mess we're in now" as you wrote.

If you could explain that to me, that'd be great.

Meanwhile, she isn't responsible for any of the mess I'm in right now because I'm not American and I've mostly been exposed to her life through films. As most of us have.
posted by crossoverman at 10:21 PM on February 11 [6 favorites]


Melisamata, SYWA is an ensemble picture and Temple is the Bobbysoxer of the title; she had equal billing with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.

Yes indeed. Her filmography is coming back to me now; she did in fact star in several films as a young adult, including the weird That Hagen Girl with Ronald Reagan.
posted by Melismata at 7:47 AM on February 12


Several of you mentioned Diana Serra Cary, "Baby Peggy". Last night a BBC radio show carried an interview with her: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03thgqy . (It's right at the end of this 45 minute show). She's 95 but you'd never know it. And apologies if there are restrictions preventing you hearing it.
posted by Boggins at 8:34 AM on February 12


Here's a recent doc about Baby Peggy. When she was 16, she costarred in this with my great aunt.
posted by brujita at 12:10 PM on February 12


One of the sad things about Temple's career is that she was at once fairly progressive on race herself, and starred in some of the most appallingly racist movies Hollywood ever made, which is a hell of a high bar. To quote the New Yorker piece:

In his 1973 study “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, & Bucks,” the film historian Donald Bogle puzzled over the fact that no other star from Hollywood’s golden age produced such a consistently racist body of work. (Bogle even claims that “there was an inside industry joke that a Temple picture was incomplete without at least one darky.”)

Much of the (dis)credit seems to go to her dreadful parents, a pair of venal, small-minded hicks who found collaborators who'd sink to their level. Temple's achievements, and her level-headedness, are all the more impressive in contrast to the people who raised her.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:12 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Maybe she appeared opposite so many black stars because as a kid she could do it in a way that white grownups couldn't. As the NYTimes obit says, "she may have been the first white actress allowed to hold hands affectionately with a black man on screen."
posted by alms at 6:32 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


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posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 11:51 AM on February 15


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