In light of Shirley Temple’s passing on February 10, 2014, Jennette McCurdy wrote a tribute article about Shirley’s influence as a child star in the 1930s. Jennette explained that Shirley was in the eyes of many only as a child, but as she grew older, the entertainment world was quick to throw her to the side for a new face. Shirley continued on trying other roles (though unsuccessful) then later went on to enter the world of politics. Jennette herself knows what it is to grow up on set and how challenging it can be to be thrown life changes, especially puberty, and not have any career ending repercussions.
Check out the article below or read about it on the Wall Street Journal website.
My earliest experience with alcohol (stay with me…) was when I was twelve years old. I was at a wedding and the only place to order a drink was at the bar. And since it was a fancy event, my mom ordered me my favorite fancy drink, a Shirley Temple. I took a big sip and was met with the most unappetizing taste: alcohol! I spit out the drink and looked to my mom, who explained that the soon-to-be-scolded bartender had accidentally made a Dirty Shirley.
“Accidentally?” I thought. “Why would anyone purposefully make a Dirty Shirley?”
Nine years later and I now understand why someone would purposefully ruin the greatest soft drink ever concocted. Yet while I appreciate the buzz from the added grown-up ingredient, I must say… I still prefer the child’s fare. I think we all do.
Shirley Temple was an icon. America needed relief, and her Depression-era films provided just that. Her innocence and youthful sparkle kept the nation wrapped around her finger… until she hit puberty.
Everything has a specific purpose in our lives. Shirley fit a collective place inside our nation as we struggled and needed to see the innocence and beauty of youth. But once she started growing up, the nation decided to look elsewhere rather than watch saccharine Shirley blossom.
Once a star’s career explodes to a certain degree, they are struck with two options: continue doing exactly what they do until people get sick of it, or change and hope society changes with them. The unfortunate thing about child stars is that they do not have this choice. Before they can blink an eye, adolescence strikes and the decision is made for them – change, change, change. And as if developing an unknown body, facing new-found mental challenges, and saying goodbye to the only phase of life they have known isn’t enough, child stars are forced to be interesting, sociable, lovable, precocious, and strategic as they navigate their no-doubt family-dependent careers.
That transition is easier said than done – and considering how tough it is to say, that’s really saying something.
Shirley Temple peaked in entertainment before the age of 10. Her rise and fall is an early example of the fickleness present in entertaining our nation. America chewed her up and, as soon as her hair couldn’t hold a curl, spit her out.
I told my friend I was writing this article and she asked what was exciting about the “death of a movie star who hasn’t been relevant for almost a hundred years?”
Well, to her and anyone else with a similar mind-set, I’ll tell you what’s exciting about Shirley Temple. Although spit out of entertainment and gone from the headlines at 22, Miss Temple went on to lead an accomplished life we all would be so very proud of.
She studied abroad, was successful in business, dabbled in politics…okay, I don’t want to sound like her Wikipedia page. Just trust me… she did a lot of cool things.
The fact that Shirley Temple left the movie industry unscathed and went on to expand and develop her person behind closed doors is a testament to a true American hero. The original child star turned out to be a smart, successful, well-rounded adult.
Sure, I’ll cheers to that. Somebody hand me a Shirley Temple.
On second thought, make that a Dirty Shirley.