Tag Archives: Shirley Temple

The Many Deaths of Dorothy Dell

5ede22d73e5b3a1b109f04159ed12a28As a little girl, future Miss Universe Dorothy Dell was violently attacked by a dog in Mississippi. She only survived because her father killed the dog to save her.

In July 1931, Ziegfeld Showgirl Dorothy was invited to a party on vaudevillian Harry Richman’s yacht, Chevalier II. She declined; another showgirl took her place; the yacht exploded; the alternate showgirl was killed.

In August 1931, Dorothy was severely injured in an automobile accident. She spent two months recovering and almost died when she contracted influenza.

Then she broke a leg, and spent the next several months singing torch songs on the stage from a stool.

On June 7, 1934, Dorothy said, “You know, they say deaths go in cycles of three. First it was Lilyan Tashman, then Lew Cody. I wonder who’ll be next?”  Continue reading

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RIP Shirley Temple

www1Let’s all remember the review of Wee Willie Winkie that bankrupted magazine Night and Day and sent critic Graham Greene (yes, that Graham Greene) fleeing to Mexico.

The owners of a child star are like leaseholders—their property diminishes in value every year. Time’s chariot is at their back; before them acres of anonymity. Miss Shirley Temple’s case, though, has a peculiar interest: infancy is her disguise, her appeal is more secret and more adult. Already two years ago she was a fancy little piece (real childhood, I think, went out after The Littlest Rebel). In Captain January she wore trousers with the mature suggestiveness of a Dietrich: her neat and well-developed rump twisted in the tap-dance: her eyes had a sidelong searching coquetry. Now in Wee Willie Winkie, wearing short kilts, she is completely totsy. Watch her swaggering stride across the Indian barrack-square: hear the gasp of excited expectation from her antique audience when the sergeant’s palm is raised: watch the way she measures a man with agile studio eyes, with dimpled depravity. Adult emotions of love and grief glissade across the mask of childhood, a childhood that is only skin-deep. It is clever, but it cannot last. Her admirers—middle-aged men and clergymen—respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire.

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