Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple: 1928-2014

Shirley Temple…film icon, movie pioneer, and former child star, has passed away at 85.

After taking singing and dancing lessons at the age of three, Shirley Temple made her debut in the short film BABY BURLESKS in 1933, in which she astounded the film world by accurately impersonating established stars such as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. One year later she stole the heart of the world in BRIGHT EYES, with her tap-dancing and singing performance of Good Ship Lollipop. The performance set an internal image of herself which would last for eight decades. She would earn a special Oscar in 1934 and then go on to star in tailor-made vehicles such as CURLY TOP (1935), THE LITTLE COLONEL (1935), DIMPLES (1936), and HEIDI (1937).

At the age of eight she was a number-one box office attraction, and one of the first, if not the youngest to ever be marketed via dolls, toys, and coloring books. Her popularity inspired rival studios to develop their own child stars. She would continue acting into her teens, with her most memorable role coming in John Ford’s FORT APACHE in 1947, alongside John Wayne and Henry Fonda. Her final film would be MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE (1949), before entering a short career in television. She would eventually move into politics; a move which would see her be appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.   

As a wee-lad growing up in the 1970’s, Shirley Temple was this Blogger’s first cinematic crush. Not only because she was dazzling, but because for this Blogger she was the first indication that not all movie stars were adults. Such an impression was made, that this Blogger always had to drink a (non-alc) Shirley Temple beverage (complete with cherries and a plastic sword), at the family’s favorite restaurant. Shirley Temple danced her way into every heart in the world, and it is no bad thing that her innocent smile and tiny dance-steps will forever be our lasting memory of her.

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