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July 21, 2010

The child star who SHOULD be emulated.

Pop culture

So. Lindsay Lohan is in jail. I'm not particularly a fan, but it seems vaguely surreal, even to me. I mean, for one thing, she's in jail and Roman Polanski isn't? Really? Anyway, it really seems like The Parent Trap was both the beginning and the high point of her career, and I can only feel badly for her. I was always a huge fan of the original 1961 Parent Trap, so I was very skeptical when a new version came out. But Lohan totally won me over:

She's really good! I'd forgotten how good until I rewatched that (fuzzy, sorry) trailer. Playing two roles against each other like that can never be easy, and for a kid, and with two different accents . . . it's impressive.

People sometimes say it's all but unavoidable for child stars to end up in some sort of trouble or failure. Maybe they all need to pay a little more attention to Shirley Temple.

She makes clear in her memoir that her life wasn't all lollipops and rainbows, and some of the stuff the studio executives did to her then would never be allowed now. But she grew up, retired from acting, raised a family, and became a diplomat. She was even Chief of Protocol. Not bad for someone who started as a "baby burlesk." (No, really.)

Posted by Kat at July 21, 2010 10:00 AM

In general, though, and especially now (because we can't forget that Shirley Temple was doing it sixty, seventy years ago, when even Hollywood had a better moral compass than it's had since), I wouldn't let my kid near the film industry for any amount of money. I mean, look at the modern success story: Drew Barrymore. Who was in rehab when she was fourteen, but she was lucky/blessed/smart enough to pull out of the downward spiral before she went full Lindsay.

Child stars have everything they could ever want, nobody reliable to teach them boundaries, and the constant squeeing adoration (and scrutiny) of millions of people. What could possibly go wrong, right? I wonder if Lindsay wishes she'd just grown up as a normal kid in suburbia and gone on to a normal career, or if that's something she can even imagine for herself. Every day of her life has been spent in a rarified atmosphere that has nothing in common with normalcy. (In this way, it reminds me of the way [non-celebrity] drug addicts live. That IS their normal.)

And yes, watching The Parent Trap (we own it) breaks my heart nowadays. Want an even sadder story? Watch *Savannah Smiles*, and then go read the Wikipedia entry about the child star in that, and then watch it again and try not to cry. Maybe it's a mom thing. She looked and talked so much like Claire did at that age.

Posted by: Rachel at July 21, 2010 11:30 AM
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