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The Gold Standard of Child Stars: Shirley Temple (1928-2014)

The Gold Standard of Child Stars: Shirley Temple (1928-2014)


Shirley Temple color

Shirley Temple (April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014)

“Any star can be devoured by human adoration, sparkle by sparkle.”

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Shirley Temple, who remains the most famous and iconic child star in film history.  How famous was she as a child?  Imagine Miley Cyrus and multiply it by a factor of 50.

Seemingly the perfect antidote for Depression-era America, the moppet entertained a generation with her singing, dancing, and overall cuteness that somehow never seemed too icky.  Temple was the top box office star in the world for four consecutive years, 1935-1938, but found the transition to adult roles challenging.

After retiring from acting in the late-1940s, Shirley Temple became an ambassador to Ghana and Czecholslovakia.  In the early 1970s she was one of the first famous women to publicly discuss a mastectomy.  She was the mother of three.  The fact that she is still so well-known after 80 years is quite amazing, but not as impressive as having become a well-adjusted adult, a feat that under the circumstances is, perhaps, her greatest accomplishment of all.  Her official website is

By all accounts Miss Temple had a wonderful life.  I suspect she will continue be the gold standard to which all child performers are compared for perpetuity.


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