Child Star

Screenshot from a public domain film The Littl...
Screenshot from a public domain film The Little Princess (1939) starring Shirley Temple and Richard Greene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shirley Temple died today. She was 85, which is hard to imagine.

I watched her darling performances when I was a child, and loved her, wanted to be her.

She was about 35 years old, then, older than my mom.

I never knew it.

When my own children were small, I searched out these amazing movies, for their viewing pleasure.

They also fell completely in love with the little cute-pie.

As an adult, I read her autobiography, Child Star. That broke my heart.

All the time she was smiling for us, it was because she feared being locked into a black box.

And all the money she made went to her mom, who used it to build luxury houses for self.

And her hair was naturally straight. Every kink came at quite a cost, for a tiny one.

Cover of "Captain January"
Cover of Captain January

But she really was that sweet and when she attended school she got in trouble for smiling all the time.She couldn’t not smile.

She just missed Valentine’s Day. Ironic, for everyone’s sweetheart, eh?

Probably my favorite of her movies are The Little Princess, because of the graciousness of the queen, the great scenes in the attic, and that thing with the ash bucket. Especially that thing with the ash bucket.

But I also love Captain January for the fairly true picture it gives of home school, and for the site of her tap dancing a hornpipe with a young Jed Clampett.

I shall miss her.


All photos: Wikipedia

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Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

12 thoughts on “Child Star

  1. I marked her book as “Want to Read” on GoodReads. I haven’t seen very many of her movies, honestly, but I wouldn’t mind renting a few now.

    1. One amazing thing we never realized about her movies until we’d seen them all: She always played an orphan or half-orphan. One thing to watch out for, if you intend to show these to your children–in all but one, there is a second plot of love-at-first-sight. The exception is in Captain January, where there is a romantic vein, but it is a long-going acquaintance. Have fun. πŸ™‚

    1. We watched it last night, along with Captain January. Laughed and cried as if I’d never seen them before.
      Did you, like me, experience an inordinate rejoicing at the ash bucket scene? πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh, my goodness–as Shirley would say…There’s a new “Hate Shirley” group fast-forming, because she was a Republican, politically, as an adult, so many years ago?
    Nothing like a little tolerance, eh?

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