In what must have been a twist of fate, my reading for my Survey of Film History class last week was discussing the fact that Shirley Temple Black was one of few Hollywood actors who managed to rise to stardom during the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was the next morning that I heard the news that on Feb. 10 she died at the age of 85.
Shirley Temple is considered to be the most popular child star in history. Her films have carried on in popularity throughout the years. Appearing in her first film at the age of three, she was wonderfully talented; acting, singing and dancing her way in to the hearts of Americans in almost every film she ever made.
Temple led a very full life consisting of an award-winning career in film as a child, a family as a young adult and a career in politics later in life. After divorcing her first husband in 1950, she married Charles Black, and remained married to him until and he died in 2005. Interestingly enough, at the time he met her, he had not seen a single one of her films. The couple had two children in addition to a daughter Temple brought from her previous marriage. Temple became the United States ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and is now listed as No. 18 of the America Film Institutes’ 50 Greatest Screen Legends.
As a Shirley Temple fan all my life, I have tons of personal favorites. Some of my favorite dance numbers and scenes from her films come from “The Little Colonel,” “Heidi,” “The Little Princess,” “The Blue Bird” and “The Littlest Rebel.” Check them out if you have a few minutes!
Did you watch Shirley Temple films as a child? What are your favorite songs and movies by her?