Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Baby Take a Bow

Shirley Temple 1928-2014

I woke this morning to the news that Shirley Temple passed away yesterday at the age of 85. As with many people, she has always captivated my imagination. Not only do I find her films and music entertaining, but there are many other aspects of her character that I admire. To me, she represents the impact that one child can have on the world. She is often credited with lifting the spirits of the American people during the Great Depression through her many roles which all seemed to be performed with a kind of joy that is often absent in adulthood. She somehow managed to capture the enduring spirit of childhood, the presence of which was enough to bring cheer to people. Children have always had the power to affect the world, and Shirley Temple was a perfect symbol of that.

In a wider sense, she was a very much a figure of cultural importance. In the 1930's, she made four films with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. They were the first mixed race musical numbers to be seen by most people in America, and later in life, she said he was her favorite co-star. She was also the first celebrity to publicly acknowledge that she had breast cancer in the 1970's, an admission that helped lead the way for women to become proactive in being screened. But in many ways, she will always be remembered as the curly topped child--a 20th Century version of Alice Liddell. May she find peace in rest while her spirit lives on to bring joy to generations yet to come.

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