Letters To The Editor

March 10, 2014

Letters to the Editor: March 10, 2014

Shirley Temple tribute

TO THE EDITOR: Reflecting on the departure of Shirley Temple’s uniquely luminous presence, sadly leaving the world that much darker, it’s interesting to note how Shirley and Miley Cyrus are antithetical. 

While Cyrus began relatively wholesomely in “Hannah Montana,” she’s since completely tanked as a role model for young women and girls. 

By contrast, Shirley’s career began dubiously in tasteless, exploitative “Baby Burlesks” shorts but once they were behind her, she never stopped making a shining example of herself. 

In her absence, the ultimate living “anti-Miley” is probably Malala Yousafzai, the death-defying young Pakistani activist and humility incarnate, but that’s another discussion for another time.

In beating breast cancer, Shirley became a mastectomy-awareness trailblazer. Having survived her (first) marriage to alcoholic, philandering, abusive John Agar, she was an inspiration to women with similar stories to share. 

Moving right along, she was special assistant to the chairman of the President’s Council on Environment, U.S. chief of protocol, U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, delegate to the United Nations, recipient of Kennedy Center Honors.

Shirley also helped break the color barrier through her four films with the inimitable “Bojangles” Robinson, whom she later called her idol.

What a classy lady, even when she was pint-sized (not counting those awful, cringe-inducing shorts but she was forced to make them, unfortunately). 

To mark Women’s History Month, a celebration of Shirley’s life and art will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Newman Center, 90 Broad St., across from PSU’s Myers Fine Arts building.

Free and open to everyone, “Shirley T.: Portrait of the definitive Anti-Miley” will be an all-16mm, all-celluloid event starring her classic 1937 feature, “Heidi.”

For more info, contact



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