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Spending weekends at my nana's house used to mean two things: Shirley Temple marathons and lots of pancakes.
I'm not the only one who grew up watching Temple dance to "On the Good Ship Lollipop" (below), nor am I of the only generation to do so, but our nana had a knack for showering us with memories of Shirley, her favorite actress, and making the curly-haired tot feel like our long lost friend. This morning, Temple died at age 85, surrounded by her family in San Francisco.
Only a true talent could create a breadth of work that transcended generations, including 60 IMDB credits spanning 1932 to 1949. The most remarkable derivative from that statistic is that 27 of those films and shorts were produced between 1933 and 1935 when Shirley was between five and seven years old.
Temple married John Agar in 1945 (divorced in 1950) and Charles Alden Black in 1950 (she took on his last name and the couple remained married until his death in 2005), before saying goodbye to the limelight for good in the early '60s. She created a name for herself in politics and international relations in her 30s and 40s, running for Congress in 1967 (she would have been the first female representative in Congress in California's history if she had won), before being selected as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia in 1974 and 1989, respectively.
Although her post-acting career was admirable, as a young kid in the early '90s I didn't know of the woman she had grown into. When I sat glued to her Depression-era movies in the den (when the films were more than 50 years old), each black-and-white story felt brand new to me.
My nana passed away unexpectedly in 1996, leaving our family with heavy hearts and tons of memories. The ones I remember the fondest involved a collection of Shirley Temple VHS tapes and pancakes.
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