Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Salute

We have lost one of the greats.

As I have shared with you before, I am a huge fan of Classic Hollywood film. Shirley Temple is a huge reason why I was hooked at such a young age. I remember watching her movies at my Grammy's house as a little girl. She blew me away. She was adorable and innocent but had a cheeky way of talking to adults that made her seem so beyond her years. And girlfriend was crazy talented.

The first time I saw her dance in "The Little Colonel" alongside Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, I was consumed with excitement and happiness. I danced all around the house and tried to imitate them. It wasn't until many years later I realized that Shirley and Bill had made history in being one of the first, if not the first, interracial dance team in a Hollywood film. Shirley became THE biggest box office draw in Hollywood by the age of 7.

My adoration for her was multiplied when I saw her brilliantly portray my biggest literary hero at the time, Sara Crewe, in "The Little Princess." She never made cute seem corny. Although of course she was adorable, she could reach down in your guts and make you cry like you meant it. And even at a young age I appreciated that.

I remember watching "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" when I was a little older and my jaw hitting the ground when I realized that was Ms. Temple on the screen, wooing Cary Grant and stealing the spotlight from Myrna Loy! She was so beautiful and grown up and still so fresh and young. Her comedic chops hadn't failed her and she kept up easily with Cary and Myrna, which is a true accomplishment.

My first reaction when I heard this news was sadness and a sense of loss. But I can look at what Shirley gave to me, a love of dance, humor, youthful sweetness and confidence and just feel gratitude and happiness.

Shirley has said that the best thing she ever did was being a mother and a grandmother and that nothing matters more than real love. She was married to the same man for 54 years until his death. She was political activist and U.S. Ambassador. She was a mother of three and a breast cancer survivor. She died at the age of 85 in bed at home, surrounded by loved and of natural causes. How can you mourn such fulfilled and brilliant life? I can only celebrate it and be happy to have had a glimpse of it.

Still in awe of you,


  1. I watched her movies with my Granny Annie. She just loved Shirley Temple! She was wonderful in "Since You Went Away"!

  2. I remember watching her too!!! I think this is probably why we were such good roomies on the road and could be entertained by watching TCM's all night long!

  3. Beautifully written!!