Shirley Temple Black passed away yesterday. She was 85. At the height of her career in the 1930s, she was the most popular actress in Hollywood with more drawing power than Clark Gable and Greta Garbo combined.
As a child star during the Depression, the little girl with the 56 perfect corkscrew curls projected determination and optimism to a dispirited nation. In many of her movies, she was a feisty orphan who taught men how to be better men. When her career ended, she was but 22 years old. As for the millions she earned, her father squandered everything. Rather than retreat, like so many stars, into a shell of bitter nostalgia, Shirley Temple moved ahead and forged a new life for herself and her family. She was a great actress and American, a prominent conservative Republican, and a thoroughly decent woman.