02/12/2014 12:25 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2014

Shirley Temple -- the Good Ship Lollipop Has Lost Its Compass

"Love is like a brick. You can build a house or you can sink a dead body," said Lady Gaga.

•CAROLE Radziwill chose this quote to open her new novel, The Widow's Guide to Sex & Dating, coming from Henry Holt.

Whether you think of Carole Radziwill as one of the popular villains of TVs The Real Housewives of New York, or as a social hold-over's tenuous connection with the Kennedy dynasty -- this lady can write and she is witty and funny. And she did it all by herself.

The Housewives is Bravo's reality TV show and the Kennedy reference occurs because Carole was wed to the late Anthony Radziwill, the son of Lee Bouvier Radziwill, Jackie's younger sister.

Anthony, a beloved young man who worked in television, was John Kennedy Jr.'s favorite first cousin and he succumbed all too early to cancer, not long after John went missing in a small airplane that went down near Martha's Vineyard. These young folks were awash in tragedy.

The young widowed Carole later wrote an accomplished and touching memoir of her extraordinary life as an Emmy winning TV career woman, titled What Remains. I just loved this touching book about friendship, loss and love and it became a New York Times best-seller for 20 weeks.

•CAROLE has always exhibited what I will call unusual grit, guts and determination. Since clawing her way into her Housewife role and making a hit there against all odds, she has turned her talents as a sexy, still youthfully attractive, husbandless New York woman into comedy extraordinary.

The Widow's Guide... is about a wife of an unfaithful famous sexologist husband. He is killed in a freak accident and she embarks on reinventing herself. (Carole has the moxie because she too, in real-life, reinvented herself after Anthony Radziwill's untimely death.) But here, instead of breaking your heart in a serious life situation, Carole has turned events into the more comic aspects of "Where do I go from here?"

Her own publisher describes this novel as a story where "glamorous movie stars fall for brainy working girls and where true friends must be leaned on until true love arrives." They say, correctly it is a novel that is "as romantic as it is funny and wise."

•Carole Radziwill was a serious ABC newsperson after graduating from Hunter and NYU. After her young husband's death she hustled to become a notorious "actress" in reality TV and getting herself talked about with certain male movie stars in real life.

Carole Radziwill has now turned a real-life tragedy into a scintillating comedy of recovery. It will make a great screwball comedy movie.

Hunter is so proud of her that they offer an evening hosted by Jennifer J. Raab at Roosevelt House on Feb. 19th. Reception at 6:00 program at 6:30 p.m. Try to get invited. I certainly will.

•"GRANDFATHER, grandfather!" Anybody who has ever seen Shirley Temple in 1937's Heidi recalls that moment. They also usually recall the attempts to muffle sobs, as poor Heidi is kidnapped away from her beloved grandpa. (This movie has everything -- she's sold to gypsies, for heaven's sake.)

Shirley Temple was already on the cusp of losing her wildly popular childhood charms, though Heidi was a huge hit. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and The Little Princess would also click, but 20th Century Fox knew their golden girl had to grow up sometime, ringlets be darned. She had been the studio's biggest money-maker since 1934's Stand Up and Cheer! (Shirley had un-depressed a country ravaged by The Depression.)

Shirley Temple Black died yesterday, age 85. The most popular child movie star of all time, and one who allowed her fans to remember her always as that child, because her life as an adult was dignified and beyond reproach. She was like Caesar's wife, with dimples.

•TEMPLE willingly stepped away from her career. She had one brief unhappy marriage early on, to actor John Agar, but her second, to Charles Black lasted 55 years. She appeared on TV from 1958-61 on Shirley Temple's Storybook but never attempted any sort of movie comeback -- her final big screen appearance was in 1949. She had been working since the age of three. There was nothing show business could give (or take) from her at that point. She later became an ambassador and diplomat, performing those duties with the same sweet but determined spirit which marked her movie years. Shirley Temple Black was a credit to a profession that is so often discredited by the very people it elevates -- and often cruelly dismisses.

Almost everybody has his own favorite Temple film from her glorious curly-topped childhood. But less known is that she bypassed the traditional "awkward" period. One minute she was Heidi, the next she was a buxom young woman in films such as That Hagen Girl, The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer Since You Went Away Fort Apache and Mr. Belvedere Goes to College. She was quite appealing in these films. Her career did not have to end when it did. She chose reality, and in doing so, sailed her entire life on the Good Ship Lollipop. There were some significant waves in the sea (a mastectomy in 1972) but it was a life that preserved her forever, in the hearts of millions as Our Little Girl.

RIP Shirley Temple Black. You made a nation proud and happy.

•NEW YORK magazine reminds us that winter has been so dreary that the popular High Line Park stroll which has to be hand shoveled to be kept clear, has been closed all these weeks. Fans of the walk have been devastated.