Thursday, February 20, 2014
Shirley Temple Dies, Long Life Ignored In Favor Of Childhood
Shirley Temple was born on April 23, 1928. Her film career began at the age of three in 1932. In 1934, her hit film Bright Eyes brought her international fame. She continued to receive awards and acclaim in movies such as Heidi and Curly Top throughout the 1930's. Her wholesome image also brought her lucrative merchandising, including dolls, dishes and clothing. As she reached adolescence, her popularity faded. She continued to act in movies and TV shows up until the 1960's, when she retired from show business altogether.
In her adult life, Temple sat on the boards of major corporations and organizations including Del Monte Foods, The Walt Disney Company, and the National Wildlife Federation. She began her diplomatic career in 1969 when President Richard Nixon appointed her to represent the United States at a session of the United Nations General Assembly. She later served as United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and as Chief of Protocol of the United States for President Ford. After undergoing a radical mastectomy in 1972, Temple held a press conference from her hospital room to promote regular check-ups for other women.
The vast majority of media outlets chose to ignore those achievements, covering her brief movie career and showing clips from movies made before most of the audience was even born. Despite the fact that her acting career made up a small fraction of her life, it received more than ninety percent of the coverage of her death.
Todd Dimouro, film critic for the Sacramento Journal, had high praise for the former actress. "Shirley Temple Black's life was about more than her movies. As a diplomat, she carried out many great acts and changed the world for the better. But nobody really gives a crap about that. All they care about is that she was a cute little girl."
Autumn Busick, a former senator and personal friend of Temple, expressed the same concerns. "It's a real shame. Shirley Temple lived longer than most people of her generation and had a full life, but no one seems to care. If Shirley had died at the age of ten, she would have been remembered exactly the same. It's like most of her life was a waste of time."