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Interview with Shirley Temple Black

December 5, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Shirley Temple Black says she classes herself with Rin Tin Tin because they both won fame by making people feel good during a period of hardship.

″People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog and a little girl,″ Mrs. Black said in an interview with Parade Magazine to appear in this weekend’s issue.

Mrs. Black, 58, began her film career at the age of 3 and had won an Oscar and worldwide fame by the time she was 6.

She said her family shielded her from the problems and vices of Hollywood.

″I had a very close family and I couldn’t get away with anything,″ Mrs. Black said.

The magazine went on to quote Mrs. Black as saying: ″We all knew about MGM giving Judy (Garland) speed. It never happened to me.″

However, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Mrs. Black denied saying that she knew specifically that Miss Garland was using drugs, especially speed.

″I wouldn’t use the word speed. I imagine that’s the interviewer’s word,″ Mrs. Black said from her California home.

″The rumors I heard when I was a young girl was that she had diet pills ... That is the word he should have used.″

Mrs. Black added that she had ″met Judy once or twice and I would have no knowledge of what she did in her personal life.″ The former child star also denied saying that MGM had given Miss Garland any drugs.

Catherine Hemlepp, a spokeswoman for Parade, said ″it was my understanding she had seen the quotes that were being used.″ She declined futher comment until she could talk to the contributing editor, Dotson Rader, who wrote the piece.

″I have never known Dotson not to tape an interview,″ Ms. Hemlepp said after trying to reach Rader Thursday evening. The Associated Press had no telephone numbers for Rader and was not able to reach him either.

The interview includes no further statements about Miss Garland nor at what age she might have been given drugs.

Mrs. Black said in the interview that it seemed normal for her to go to work every day as a child.

″I feel that young people who start in show business, if they become famous quickly - between the ages of 11 and 16, when their minds and bodies are changing - they really can’t accept fame so suddenly,″ she said. ″But if you’re very small and grow up through it, you don’t have the problem.″

Mrs. Black, who later in life served as ambassador to Ghana and U.S. chief of protocol, said she began to realize how far-reaching her fame was in 1937 when she traveled to to Hawaii with her mother.

″There was a tremendous crowd that met the ship and shouted for me. There was a motorcade through Honolulu to the palace, where I had to sing ‘The Good Ship Lollipop’ from all four sides of the palace to huge crowds,″ she said.

″And my mother made it seem perfectly normal for thousands of people to be cheering me, as if there was nothing special going on,″ Mrs. Black said. ″I thought all children must live as I did.″

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