Most normal adults are often thrilled by children performing on TV and stage. After all how can we not admire the wonderful talents of children who can often thrill us at such a young age, often at 5-6 years old. Some seem to have a talent well beyond their age. There are no doubt many sick people who also abuse these poor innocents whose ability in the field of entertainment does not mean they comprehend the mentality of adults who have their own sick agenda. In this article I will try to look at some very famous personalities from history whose talent was obvious at an early age. An example of human sickness in its most depraved forms whose abuse of children shocked the vast majority of the well intentioned will also be shared.
It would not be exaggerating to say that Shirley Temple took the world by storm with her amazing singing, dancing and cheeky performances in Hollywood during the 1930’s. Born in April 1928 she became the youngest person ever to win an Oscar in 1934 at the age of only 6. As with many child stars, the public found it hard to accept her growing up. Her first husband a well known star John Agar only lasted 5 years. He is reputed to have been an alcoholic and abused Shirley physically and psychologically. Fortunately after a 5 year marriage she divorced him and married Charles Alden Black, a businessman with a sound reputation. They were happily married until his death in 2005. Shirley Temple was one of the few success stories. She died in February 2014 after a long and distinguished career in politics and represented her country as an Ambassador.
The name of Mozart has become legendary. Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s genius was apparent at the age of only 3. Adults found it hard to comprehend how as a young child he could memorize musical passages by listening only once or twice. His ability to play instruments as early as 3-4 years old shocked and delighted many. His reputation as one of the greatest composers in history is well earned. Along with his genius however he also had tragedy along the way. His death 2 days before his 35th birthday has been the subject of speculation for more than 200 years. The cause was never conclusively established, some even believed he was poisoned but many discount this theory. Let’s not forget that post mortem in 1791 was unknown therefore the real cause of his death will remain a mystery.
Famous actors/actresses like Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire and Natalie Wood showed their amazing performance talents as early as 3-5 years old. Fortunately for many their success continued to adulthood, while for some the audiences simply found it hard to accept that their childhood idols grew to become adults and many careers were wrecked as a result.
Some children also became heads of state long before they even understood the meaning or implication of their positions. The Dalai Lama of Tibet was enthroned at only 5 years old in 1940, only to find that the Chinese occupation and annexation in 1951 forced him to flee his homeland while only 11 years old. 65 years later he is still recognized by many as the legal and spiritual head of Tibet. It’s doubtful if he will ever see his homeland however as China considers Tibet as an integral part of its territory. Louis the XIV born in 1638 became the ‘Sun King’ of France at only 4 years old. Though considered as the ‘visible divinity’ of 19 million French he was often a neglected and lonely child. He escaped death by drowning due to this neglect when no one was watching over him at only 4 years of age. Fortunately for him he was a successful King and ruled for an incredible 72 years until his death in 1715.
One rags to riches child star was Sabu. Born to a poor elephant-helper and illiterate was discovered when only 12 years old by Robert Flaherty who was a documentary film maker. Sabu (full name Selar Shaik Sabu) was cast in the role of an elephant driver. He shot to instant fame and continued his success. His roles in the ‘Thief of Baghdad’, in ‘Jungle book’ as Mowgli and the ‘Arabian Nights’, made him a world star. He was granted American citizenship and lived a life of glamour in his Hollywood home. He married Marilyn Cooper a little known actress and they had two children. Sadly after serving and distinguishing himself in the American Air Force his career took a downturn. Though he continued his career people simply refused to accept that Sabu had become an adult. In 1963 he complained of chest pains, he visited his doctor only to be told that ”If all my patients were as healthy as you, I would be out of a job.” Sabu died within two days of a massive heart attack at the age of only 39.
Brook Shields was an actress since she was a child but a controversial role acting as a prostitute at the age of only 12 shot her to instant fame. In spite of her age her role in the film ‘Pretty Baby” was nothing short of amazing. The story centered around her virginity being auctioned to the highest bidder. The film aroused massive controversy but established Brook Shields as an international star. Proof perhaps that money spinning can take priority over the protection of juveniles in such adult roles. Her role in ‘The Blue Lagoon” in 1980 cemented her international fame.
Some children were not so fortunate as the ones mentioned above. One of the most incredible and tragic stories was of a Peruvian 6 year old infant named Lina Medina who became the youngest recorded mother in history. In April 1939 her mother took her to hospital with what she believed to be stomach pains. The discovery that she was pregnant shocked Dr Geraldo Lozado. Though the mother claimed her daughter was only 4 years and 8 months old the doctors medical report showed her to be 6 years old. The discovery that she was 8 months pregnant went against every medical convention. It was discovered that her hormonal development was abnormally advanced, but being so small the doctors had to perform a cesarean birth which delivered a 6 and a half pound baby boy. On being questioned she was very incoherent and unable to identify her abuser. Her father was arrested but was released due to insufficient evidence. In later life her son was checked but his biological father could not be identified. It seems she was raped by a stranger.
Her son Gerardo was healthy and lived until 1979 when he died at the age of 40 due to a bone marrow disease. Due to his mother being only 6 years older he grew up thinking Lina was his sister. He was finally told the truth when he was ten years old. Lina worked as a secretary at a Lima hospital where she and her son were assisted for many years. She finally married and had a second child in 1972 but refused all attempts to be interviewed on her early life. Some even believed the story to be a hoax but photographs and medical evidence have proven Lina’s predicament to be genuine. Sadly her abuser (as stated above) was never known and due to her young age she found it hard to comprehend what really happened at the time. One thing is certain her case is proof of the depravity of pedophiles who abuse children at such a young age.
Sadly there are millions of children who suffer the same abuse and very often their abusers escape punishment. Perhaps the advances of DNA will eventually help catch these sick adults who inflict such suffering on innocent children. In the meantime we need to acknowledge that many talented children will continue to entertain adults who simply rejoice at the immense talent many have to offer. The Jimmy Saville debacle is also a case that adults who are genuinely concerned about these children need to be forever on alert to catch and help arrest the sickness that is sadly part of human nature. Thankfully the vast majority of people are decent and loving, but their vigilance should never ever be lowered regardless of the status of the pedophiles position in society. No doubt the depravity of people like Jimmy Saville and the cover ups will continue to haunt society for a long time to come.