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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Now and Forever

Earlier this week we lost a national treasure. Without question or contest Shirley Temple was the biggest child star to ever grace the big screen. She ruled the box office throughout the 1930’s~ Hollywood’s golden age.

It is amazing for me to think about that, even 40 years later, when I was a child growing up in the 70’s I lived for early Sunday mornings. The local television station would host “The Shirley Temple Hour”. I remember wanting to sing and dance just like Shirley. I loved her films~ “Heidi”, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”, “Susannah of the Mounties” …it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite.

Just this past Christmas Day, our local television station hosted a Shirley Temple marathon and my two kids sat entranced for hours as we watched “The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer” and danced along to “On the Good Ship Lollipop” while “Bright Eyes” played. It had been 80 years since the movie had been released and here she was, once again, charming us all.  

But, like all children, she grew up. Her last four movies did not fare well at the box office and Hollywood decided it had had enough of Shirley Temple. So, she quietly retired from films at the age of 22.

The biggest scandal of her life was her marriage at 17 and then subsequent divorce from John Agar after less than five years of marriage.

Temple seemed to happily settle into young single motherhood.

She went on to marry Charles Alden Black in 1950 and had two more children.

She and Charles were married for 55 years and remained devoted sweethearts until his passing in 2005.

Longtime love: Shirley Temple and her husband Charles Aiden Black at the Oscars in 1998. The couple were married for half a century

In the 60’s she appeared on television doing guest spots and hosted a children’s show entitled “Shirley Temple’s Storybook”.

After successfully raising her family Ms. Temple Black entered politics. She became a representative under Nixon for the 24th United Nations General Assembly and was later appointed as Ambassador to Ghana for President Gerald Ford. Temple Black became the first woman to be Chief of Protocol of the U.S. for Jimmy Carter. Her last position was as United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under President George H.W. Bush. You may notice that she served both the Republican and Democratic parties. The reason was simple~ she was VERY good at her job.

Moving on: Following the end of her entertainment career, Shirley, pictured in 1979, served as a U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia

But her best public service was probably in 1972. She was one of the first women to openly discuss breast cancer after she was  diagnosed and underwent a radical mastectomy. While still in recovery from the surgery she made the announcement from her hospital room and encouraged women to seek treatment at a time when such surgeries were still discussed in hushed whispers.

With so many tragic stories of former and current child stars in the news Shirley Temple Black made me stop and wonder “How did the worlds’ biggest child star escape such things as nervous breakdowns, drugs, alcoholism and other rampant problems that so many others face today?”

I think the answer is simple: There came a time when she decided to stop living only for herself and began to live and work for others.

Shirley Temple, the world's most famous child star, passed away on Monday at home surrounded by family. She said the greatest roles of her life were as wife, mother and grandmother

May she continue to inspire many.

Laura

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” ~ Acts 20:35

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:” ~ 1 Peter 4:10

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:16

20 comments :

GSGreatEscaper said...

Thanks for that. I do adore her still - A Little Princess is not just a vehicle for her, but a real movie that attracted my husband's attention when I was watching it two weeks ago because it really entertained - and what a tapper she was!

I think she was lucky in that she actually went to school as a teenager - a good private girls' school in Los Angeles - whereas teenage stars now work all the time and learn nothing.

Something Nice and Pretty said...

What a great post Laura, I watched her as a child and always loved her films. Yes, so different from today's child stars!

Rita C. said...

Awesome tribute!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

I saw that she passed and there was hardly any news on this wonderful child and the remarkable woman she became.

I love the movie in which she dances with Bojangles and holds his hand on the stairs.

My favorite is of course "Heidi".

I thought it was remarkable that despite her parents spending all her money that she held no anger, and started over. Maybe this is another reason why she did so well. She had innate talent and intelligence with resilience.

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

You said it all! She was a true American treasure!
You are the best at tributes, Laura!
w/L

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I remember when my Uncle John would come to town and take us to a 'fancy' restaurant and I always felt like one of the grown ups when he would get me a Shirley Temple drink :) RIP to a beautiful woman!

Lisa said...

Wasn't she wonderful! And what a beauty, even in her latter years. She lived a full and rewarding life and many of today's young stars would do well to learn from it. Thanks for a lovely post.

Sarah said...

A lovely tribute to an amazing woman. Thank you!

Denise said...

Such a nice post, Laura! She truly was a special person and the world will miss her.

Thank you for sharing.

Denise at Forest Manor

Barbara F. said...

Beautiful post and tribute, Laura. she was a gracious lady who inspired many. May she rest in peace. xo

Vel Criste said...

Perfect answer Laura and what a great tribute to a truly Great lady!

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

She was such a darling! And I totally agree with you, Laura, about working for others and not just herself.
I also want to tell you how fun I think it is that you feature people who were/are in the news that are of public interest. Like all things British etc. I enjoy these posts you put together for us - thanks so much for doing the research and taking the time to put it all together!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

A lovely post by a lovely lady for a lovely lady!

She was so great, and I loved all her movies!

Thank you for this, Laura!

xo

Sheila

Karena Albert said...

Beautiful Laura, she was a very special woman...
xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

Christine said...

Your tribute to Shirley Temple Black is one of the best I have read, and I have read quite a few.

Shirley Temple was a life line for so many, including me. She taught me how to pray!

Thank you.

openid said...

Laura,
She is one of my all time favorites and part of my earliest childhood memories. Thank you for this beautiful tribute for a star that will always shine.
Your Friend,
Deborah
FairfieldHouseNJ.com

Cindy said...

I also used to LOVE her Sunday morning movies...ALL of them (over and over)!! (I can still hear her voice pleading with her grandfather in Heidi...). She will be missed and I will miss her even more after reading your fond memories and tribute!

Bonnie said...

I've been out of town and have not been keeping up with the news. I am so sorry to hear
Shirley Temple died. Her movies touched four generations in my family. You did a wonderful tribute to her.

Mardell Grayhek said...

She was a treasure and I admire her strength of character even more than her films. I loved her films, but I love that she didn't succumb to the hype child stars so often do.

Thanks for a wonderful post Laura

linda t said...

Thank you Laura for such a beautiful, heartfelt post. And thank you for taking the time to speak truth and wisdom into my life on Saturday. I can not begin to tell you how God used you so profoundly to give me hope and healing. You are truly a treasured friend and gift from God.