Report: Apparently, Shirley Temple Was Still Alive
Mrs. Black, it emerges, was 85 years old and still very much breathing and functioning until her passing by what her family called “natural causes.” Admirers and film aficionados were as saddened by her death as they were by the news that until that point she wasn’t dead yet.
“We though she’d gone a long time ago,” said veteran director Roman Polanski. “I mean, she was Reagan’s ambassador to Czechoslovakia, but then she kind of disappeared. We thought she’d quietly passed on sometime in the nineties, maybe.”
Even those who might be expected to know better were taken by surprise that the actress, who starred in 44 films in the 1930’s. “I, uh, I guess this is unfortunate,” said Elise Dorkin, President of the Shirley Temple Admirers Association. “But we had all assumed Shirley died some time in the last fifteen years.” She said she would take a poll of the organization’s membership to determine who, if anyone, was aware that Mrs. Black was still among the living until yesterday.
“You’d think it would be an easy thing to look up, considering the Wikipedia page was just updated a few hours ago,” said Liz Smith, who writes about celebrity gossip. “It probably never occurred to anyone to look at the stupid page,” she mused, noting that obviously at least one person outside Mrs Black’s family knew she was alive, at least when the Wikipedia entry was composed: “It didn’t include a death date when it was written, obviously.”
After becoming America’s sweetheart as a child in Depression-era movies, Shirley Temple more or less stepped away from Hollywood in 1940 and toward a life more involved in politics and diplomacy, a function of her husband’s ties to the Republican Party. While she occasionally starred in or produced film or television content, her life in front of the camera gradually faded, leaving legions of fans in the dark as to her continued existence.