Shirley Temple Black, who lifted America’s spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and forged a second career as a U.S. diplomat, died on 10th February at the age of 85.
Black, who lured millions to the movies in the 1930s, “peacefully passed away” at her Woodside, California, home from natural causes at 10:57 p.m. local time (0657 GMT), surrounded by her family and caregivers, her family said in a statement. “We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife of fifty-five years,” the statement said.
As actress Shirley Temple, she was precocious, bouncy and adorable with a head of curly hair, tap-dancing through songs like On The Good Ship Lollipop. As ambassador Shirley Temple Black, she was soft-spoken and earnest in postings in Czechoslovakia and Ghana, out to disprove concerns that her previous career made her a diplomatic lightweight.
“I have no trouble being taken seriously as a woman and a diplomat here,” Black said after her appointment as U.S. ambassador to Ghana in 1974. “My only problems have been with Americans who, in the beginning, refused to believe I had grown up since my movies.”
Tributes to Black streamed in from the entertainment community following the news of her death. “Little Shirley Temple raised the spirits of a nation during the Great Depression. RIP,” actress Mia Farrow tweeted.
Whoopi Goldberg referred to Black’s signature song in her tribute to the former child star on Twitter. “The Good Ship Lollypop has sailed today with Shirley Temple aboard a true 1 of a kind,” she wrote.
Black, born on April 23, 1928, started her entertainment career in the early 1930s and was famous by age 6. She became a national institution, and her raging popularity spawned look-alike dolls, dresses and dozens of other Shirley Temple novelties as she became one of the first stars to enjoy the fruits of the growing marketing mentality. Shirley was three when her mother put her in dance school, where a talent scout spotted her and got her in Baby Burlesk, a series of short movies with child actors spoofing adult movies.
Movie studio executives took notice. In 1934 she appeared in the film Stand Up and Cheer!, and her song and dance number in Baby Take a Bow stole the show. Other movies in that year included Little Miss Marker and Bright Eyes (which featured her signature song On the Good Ship Lollipop) and in 1935 she received a special Oscar for her “outstanding contribution to screen entertainment.”
She made some 40 feature films, including The Little Colonel, Poor Little Rich Girl, Heidi and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, in 10 years, starring with big name actors like Randolph Scott, Lionel Barrymore and Jimmy Durante.
She was a superstar before the term was invented. Black said she was about 8 when adoring crowds shouting their love for her made her realize she was famous. “I wondered why,” she recalled. “I asked my mother, and she said, ‘Because your films make them happy.”
She was such a moneymaker that her mother — who would always tell her “Sparkle, Shirley!” before she appeared before an audience — and studio officials shaved a year off her age to maintain her child image.
Her child career came to an end at age 12. She tried a few roles as a teenager — including opposite future President Ronald Reagan in That Hagen Girl but retired from the screen in 1949 at age 21.
The Screen Actors Guild gave her its 2005 Life Achievement Award. In her acceptance speech posted on the group’s website, she said: “I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award: Start early!”
Shia LaBeouf’s foray into ‘art’ has some scratching heads
After wearing a paper bag on his head to a red carpet premiere and walking out of a press conference for his new film, actor Shia LaBeouf’s latest bizarre antic was to reveal an art project last week. LaBeouf, 27, a former Disney star who later became known as the lead of the Transformers film franchise, set up an art installation entitled #IAMSORRY at a Los Angeles gallery, which ran daily till last Sunday with free admission.
About 30 people were lined up to enter the gallery one by one, where each attendee was asked to pick an item from a table that held a wrench, a vase of flowers, a bottle of bourbon and Hershey’s chocolate kisses among other items.
Gallery visitor Maycie Thornton said she had taken a flower from the vase and then was escorted through a black curtain into a dark room, where LaBeouf was sitting with a paper bag with the words ‘I Am Not Famous Anymore’ on his head. He wore a similar bag bearing the same words at the Berlin Film Festival premiere of his latest film Nymphomaniac.
LaBeouf’s art project has been compared to that of actor Joaquin Phoenix, who in 2009 displayed erratic behavior and an unkempt appearance at public events. Phoenix announced his retirement from acting to pursue a career as a hip- hop artist. The stunt was later revealed to be the subject of Casey Affleck’s mockumentary I’m Still Here.
Whether LaBeouf is transitioning away from movies to become a conceptual artist or just finding novel ways to drum up press for his film work, the media have been amused and perplexed by his recent behaviour.