Michelle Morgan: Why I’ll miss Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was one of Michelle's childhood heroes
Shirley Temple was one of Michelle's childhood heroes

We have lost some iconic actors and actresses in the past few weeks.

Probably for me the ones I was most upset about were Ralph Waite, who played the lovely father in The Waltons; Sid Caesar, who (as Coach Calhoun) put John Travolta through his paces in Grease, and of course, dear Shirley Temple.

When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved Shirley and would watch her movies with my mum whenever they were on television.

I would sing and dance my way round the house, blasting The Good Ship Lollipop to anyone who would listen, and for a while my mum even styled my hair in ringlets, complete with giant bows.

In truth I probably looked more like a brunette Bonnie Langford than Shirley Temple, but the thought was there.

I remember one afternoon when I was about four; watching Shirley cry her way through her role in Heidi, and it got to the part where her grandfather is traipsing the streets, looking for her.

As he shouted “Heidi, Heidi” over and over again, my mum got up to go into the kitchen.

Convinced that we were going to lose each other, just as Heidi and her grandfather had done, I shouted the house down and insisted that she stay with me on the sofa at all times.

That moment became one of my earliest memories and Shirley’s performance had a profound effect on me.

Shirley Temple was a true star. There have been other child stars since, of course; some of whom have tragically been overcome by their demons, and some that have gone on to have glittering careers.

But, for me, there will only ever be one Shirley Temple. She knew when her acting career had run its course, but she didn’t take the road to self-destruction and instead went on to carve a new life for herself as a public servant, wife and mother.

She was one of a kind, and I for one will miss her.