Former child actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black has died at the age of 85. Here she is pictured with her daughter Lori Black, meeting the Beatles. Our sympathies go out to Lori and her family.
Lori was a bassist for the Melvins and dated frontman Buzz Osborne, who recounts his interactions with Shirley in my book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge:
BUZZ OSBORNE (Melvins singer/guitarist) When I went to San Francisco, I moved directly into Lori’s house. Now, bear in mind, I started going out with her long before I ever knew who her mom was. Months and months later, she said, “My mom is somebody famous.” I was like, “What are you fucking talking about?” It was crazy. I couldn’t believe that her mom was Shirley Temple.
Lori’s dad was Charles Black, who came from oil money, I think. And Shirley is a self-made woman. Shirley’s parents squandered every dime she ever made as a child before she had a chance to spend any of it. She got nothing. Zero. So she’s a pretty tough broad, you know? She’ll rip your head off and eat you for breakfast. She was the ambassador to Czechoslovakia at that point, after being the ambassador to Ghana.
Their house was unbelievable. Lots of stuff from the Hearst collection. Amazing shit—they had really great taste. And there was an Oscar sitting there. Shirley talked about her acting a lot. At one point they had her playing drums, and she had a recording of her playing drums when she was a kid, and she sounded like fucking Buddy Rich. And then she showed us how tap dancing is really just drumming. She tap-danced for us, and she was fucking amazing.
DALE CROVER (Melvins drummer) Shirley was like, “Yeah, my mom made me give away my drum set because it wasn’t ladylike to play drums.” I was like, “Oh, you couldn’t spread your legs with a dress to play drums. I get it.” She was sad about it.
The family was kind of weird and straight and conservative. Proper. I remember we’d line up outside the dining room and all kind of walk in together for some reason. I didn’t really understand it. But they were nice to me.
BUZZ OSBORNE They probably thought that I was some leeching weirdo and that their daughter went out with me just to screw with them. Her dad was never nice to me. Shirley was nice to me to some degree, but they’re very guarded people. I’m sure they thought I was going to write some book or something. And believe me, without going into any graphic details, there are massive skeletons in that closet.
One thing that Shirley said to me was, “Working in the government, you can always get somebody audited.” I took that to heart. They never did anything to me personally, or even threatened me, but they didn’t need to. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. They were über-right-wing. Now, I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh; I’m talking about the people who make life-and-death decisions. And it’s not necessarily evil; it’s more realistic. Charles was ex-CIA. It’s weirder than you can possibly imagine. I certainly never got the truth.
Since then, everything that’s happened—from Nirvana going crazy and on and on and on—none of that holds a candle to how weird that situation was. That’s David Lynch weird.
Shirley Temple - On The Good Ship Lollipop.avi (by Damien Chemillé)
For more than 50 years, Seeger sang about war, social justice, and the environment. We need him today more than ever, and now he’s gone. Here are some of the words and songs he left for us.
Rizzoli & Isles actor Lee Thompson Young, who got his big break in the title of the popular Disney Channel series The Famous Jett Jackson when he was just 14, died Monday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 29.
[gif via janelorizzoli, photo via Getty]
David Rakoff, a “writer, aesthete, genius, New York devotee (the City was “the great love of my life,” he wrote), exceptional reporter and observer, performer, director and incredibly kind person,” has died of cancer. Give his This American Life episodes a listen.
The above screenshot is from his book, Half Empty, as screengrabbed by The Awl.
Nora was both hedgehog and fox. She knew a great deal about a great many things, and she delighted in sharing what she knew. A number of years ago, I was taking a trip to Rome, and she generously availed me of her guide to its enchantments, a small pamphlet she’d composed that included a thumbnail sketch of every terrific restaurant, of every amusing thing to do, of the right place to get a haircut or a manicure, all springily written and completely true. Nora prided herself in knowing how to do things, where to get them, what was good and in what way it was good. Think of the moments in her essays, her novels, and her movies when she addresses the fact of food. No one has ever written about food with more pleasure or more pleasurably—or more infectiously. You wanted to eat the thing she was kvelling about, right then and there, even before the next sentence.
Screenwriter and friend Stephen Schiff salutes Nora Ephron’s wonderful films, impeccable taste, and versatile strength to the end.
Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, Nov 12, 1995. We’re totally going to borrow this page from the Book of Bradbury.
Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, Nov 12, 1995.