By the time Shirley Temple Black died at 85 last night we had come to take her extraordinary life for granted.
Child star? How about: the most popular and unquestionably talented child star ever, who made people happy during the Depression, and managed to grow up sane despite her mega-popularity?
Sane? How about: happily married for 54 years (after one quick first marriage at age 17), three kids and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who loved her?
Not enough? How about: diplomat and UN representative, ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, Chief of Protocol, conservative Republican?
And then there’s: one of the first breast cancer survivors to publicize that fact for the purposes of public education.
Not cute as a button—much, much cuter—she was known not only for her incredibly precocious singing and dancing (some people were initially convinced she was a midget) but for her relentless good cheer. That good cheer seems to have stood her in good stead for the rest of her long and fruitful life.
No tribute to Shirley Temple Black could possibly be complete without at least one film clip. Which to choose? You almost can’t go wrong, but I’ll put up this one because it’s a sampler (beginning when Shirley was around 3, I believe):
[NOTE: I wrote about Shirley Temple's hair recently, here.]