Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Black, RIP


Shirley Temple Black has passed away at age 85. She was a huge star in her day. Worked in Hollywood for nineteen years, worked in government much longer. She suffered from breast cancer in the early 'seventies and became one of the first prominent women to discuss it publicly.

She ran for Congress as a "conservative Republican"----I'm not sure what that meant. A conservative Republican back then was probably a liberal-left Democrat today. It was during the Vietnam War and she lost the primary to an anti-war Republican.

She was later Ambassador to Ghana, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, Chief of Protocol of the United States. She was in charge of Jimmy Carter's inauguration and inaugural ball.

I saw a story on her on 60 Minutes in the early '70s. She said that Ghana was like the pages of National Geographic come to life.
 
She would have been far less successful as an adult if she hadn't been so successful as a child, although it obviously could have gone the other way----look at how many child stars' lives went horribly wrong. 

No matter what her achievements were later in life, she couldn't get away from it. On Saturday Night Live, Loraine Newman did an impression of her as a child solving a diplomatic crisis in Africa. And I heard somewhere---I don't know if this is true---that when she ran for Congress, there were posters with pictures of her as a child with a caption---something like, If you don't vote for me, I'll cry.

But don't the rest of us who never got to be child stars have a right to be bitter? Isn't it enough that they were better than us as children? Do they have to be better than us as adults?

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