End Credits #12: Cinema's 2014 Lost Treasures
These are a few of Cinema's sad departures of early 2014 taken from my personal notes soon after the tragic events took place:
Shirley Temple (April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014), the greatest child star in motion picture history, has died at age 85. She first appeared in motion pictures at the age of 3, and by 6 was acting, singing and dancing her way to stardom. Her bright and cheery persona lifted spirits during the depression and in the middle to the late '30's she would prove to be a bigger box office draw than grown up stars like Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor and Joan Crawford. She worked with director John Ford and co-star Victor McLaglan as a child in perhaps her best starring film Wee Willie Winkie (1937) and enjoyed a supporting role over a decade later with McLaglan again in Ford's Fort Apache (1948). I would also recommend The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) a delightful comedy in which she co-starred with Cary Grant.
On a more personal note, my aunt, Marilyn Granas, was Shirley Temple's stand-in. I have spoken with her about her experiences working as a child with Shirley and they are fascinating. Marilyn participated in 1992's Shirley Temple: America's Little Darling, a comprehensive and entertaining documentary. Upon news of her death I contacted Marilyn and she said "my time with her was a wonderful adventure and I will always be grateful for having had the experience."
I have included a clip (unfortunately it's colorized) from The Little Colonel (1935) in which Shirley has a terrific dance number with Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson. Note: Any racial prejudice prevalent at the time obviously didn't rub off on little Shirley.
Another iconic figure who brought joy to millions was tragically lost to us. Sid Caesar (September 8, 1922 – February 12, 2014), beloved comic actor who was a trailblazing genius in the early days of TV has died at 91. Caesar practically invented sketch and situation comedy in the '50s with Your Show of Shows followed later by Caesar's Hour and he won Emmy Awards for both. He hired writers who would go on to become world famous such as Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. He made memorable comic appearances in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World (1963) and two of Mel Brooks' films, Silent Movie (1976) and History of the World: Part 1 (1981).