A million years before America’s current darling, Honey Boo Boo, (Side know: I know, I’m making a sad post even more depressing) slid out of Mama June’s chocha on an amniotic butter wave, there was Shirley Temple who danced and yodeled her way into the hearts of the world and brought happiness to America during shitty times. Last night at her home in Woodside, CA, Shirley Temple died of natural causes and took the Good Ship Lollipop up to heaven. She was 85. Animal crackers (and tears) in your soup.
When I was a kid, like most kids, I was dumb as shit and thought that Shirley Temple was a drink I ordered at Sizzler to look all grown up. And then I watched Heidi and my personal favorite Poor Little Rich Girl. Shirley started performing at the age of 3 in 1932. Fox signed her in 1934 and she did bit parts before starring in Stand Up and Cheer! and Bright Eyes, which made her a star and got her a special Juvenile Academy Award. After making millions of dollars and starring in dozens of movies including Heidi, Curly Top and A Little Princess, Shirley quit the Hollywood game at the age of 22.
Unlike the child stars of today, Shirley didn’t become a cokehead mess and never flashed her coochie lips while getting out of a Ferrari to party at Chateau Marmont (I think). Shirley married her second husband Charles Alden Black and raised her 3 kids, a daughter from her marriage to meat-packing heir John Agar and 2 kids with Charles. Shirley got into politics in the 60s when she became active in the Republican party in California and ran for Congress. She lost, but in 1969 she served as a representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly and in 1974 President Ford made her the US Ambassador to Ghana. She was also the US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
Shirley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and she had a mastectomy to remove the tumor. She went on radio shows and TV shows and became one of the first famous women to openly talk about breast cancer.
One of the last pictures of Shirley I could find is from the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2006 when she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Shirley’s family released this statement to AP:
“We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black.”
Rest in peace, Shirley.