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Shirley Temple Black Dies at Age 85

Child star Shirley Temple and The Saturday Evening Post editor J.P. McEvoy in 1938. This photo accompanied the article, "Little Miss Miracle." © SEPS 2014

Child star Shirley Temple and The Saturday Evening Post editor J.P. McEvoy in 1938. This photo accompanied the article, “Little Miss Miracle.” © SEPS 2014

She was known for her curly hair and radiating smile, and, of course, as one of the very first child stars. Shirley Temple sang and danced her way into the Hollywood history books back in the 1930s with movies like Curly Top, Bright Eyes, and The Little Colonel. In her adult years, Temple would become a diplomat and political ambassador. In July 1946, Shirley Temple sat down with The Saturday Evening Post to talk about the role she liked best:

“Of all the pictures I’ve made, including those with adult roles, the one I enjoyed most was when I was eight years old and I played soldier as Wee Willie Winkie. In Kipling’s story, Wee Willie, mascot of a famous Scottish regiment in India, was a freckled six-year-old boy, but my studio saw no reason why the character couldn’t be a girl, granddaughter of the commandant. So I got the part.

It was fun to parade around with brawny, six-foot men, and wearing those Black Watch plaid kilts was better than going to a costume party…The fascinating sword swallowers in the picture added to my fun–and the camels, which looked so silly when they yawned. As I marched with the soldiers I felt very grown-up and important, although I barely came up to their waists.

I liked everybody in the cast, but my special favorites were C. Aubrey Smith and Victor McLaglen…I also remember gratefully the gentleness of director John Ford; outwardly he is a rugged type of person, but inside he’s kindly and even sentimental. He did so much to make Wee Willie Winkie my favorite role.”

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