"Can the most famous child in the world grow up emotionally unscarred?"
Twenty-five years ago, that was the question that opened the New York Times news service’s review of Shirley Temple Black’s autobiography, Child Star. It remains the question attached to anyone who could plausibly write an autobiography by that title—and recent examples, from Lindsay Lohan to Justin Bieber, have created a consensus is that no, usually, famous kids don’t grow up unscarred.
But Temple, who died Monday night at age 85, is the popular counterexample. After her prepubescent acting gigs, she went on to live a meltdown-free career as a diplomat, political activist, and mother of three. That fact made her “perhaps the best example of a child star who came out the other side sane and used her fame for a great 2nd act,” said entertainment critic Alan Sepinwall on Twitter. Or, as writer Jeff Pearlman put it, she “was Justin Bieber with talent, taste, judgement and 0 inane tattoos.”
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