Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Black remembered

As a child, Temple sang and danced her way across American hearts.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 6:00 PM

click to enlarge CURLY TOP: Young Shirley Temple. - PUBLICITY PHOTO
  • CURLY TOP: Young Shirley Temple.
Shirley Temple Black, a symbolic inspiration, actress and diplomat died Feb. 10,
2014, of natural causes at her home in Woodside, CA surrounded by a loving family. She was 85.

As a child, Temple sang and danced her way across American hearts. The tiny big talent starred in 66 films between 1932 and 1959 and numerous other vehicles.

She was even considered to play Dorothy, her curls bouncing across the great Land of Oz and had her own bungalow on the 20th Century Fox Film lot. A staff of 19 writers known as the Shirley Temple Story Development team devoted their careers to making her a lovable, quotable star. And she was.

Her film career was her first de facto diplomatic role as America and the world came to adore her.

Temple's early career skyrocketed during the Great Depression, a time when America needed something fresh and innocent to take its troubles away. After the film Bright Eyes hit theaters in 1934 the whole country was singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop”. It was during this period that the famous Shirley Temple Dolls went into production becoming so popular that they are still being produced today, the earlier versions fetching thousands on the open market.

Unlike the child stars of today she played a waif, an orphan with the power to turn around misers, crabby geezers, and cold-hearted titans with a dimpled smile. She symbolized hope, a brighter future for all and just as importantly redemption for the cold and crass powers that be.

As she matured Temple never transformed into a sexual object partly due to the times and partly due to an article by British Film Critic Graham Greene in 1937 hinting of pedophilia by her male viewing audience. Temple and 20th Century Fox successfully sued Greene and the settlement was donated to a youth center in England.

At 17, an age when Madonna, Miley, Cyrus, and Rhinanna were sexualizing their personas, Temple married John Agar, the scion of a Chicago meatpacking firm. She had her first child, Linda, when she was 20 years old. In 1950, a second 54-year marriage to Charles Alden Black II produced two more children, a son, Charles Alden III, and a daughter Lori.

Black, a naval intelligence office was called back to DC at the break of the Korean War and it was then that Temple became involved in politics. She had six government posts the most impressive one for her being the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia when that country won it's hard fought freedom in 1992.

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