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Shirley Temple

Susannah of the Mounties (1939) The Little Princess (1939) Just Around the Corner (1938) Little Miss Broadway (1938) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) Heidi (1937) Wee Willie Winkie (1937) Stowaway (1936) Dimples (1936) Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) Captain January (1936) The Littlest Rebel (1935) Curly Top (1935) Our Little Girl (1935) The Little Colonel (1935) Bright Eyes (1934) Now and Forever (1934) Baby Take a Bow (1934) Now I'll Tell (1934) Little Miss Marker (1934) Change of Heart (1934) Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) Managed Money (1934) Managed Money As the Earth Turns (1934) Mandalay (1934) Betty Shaw Carolina (1934) Pardon My Pups (1934) What's to Do? (1933) Merrily Yours (1933) Kid 'in' Africa (1933) To the Last Man (1933) Dora's Dunking Doughnuts (1933) Polly Tix in Washington (1933) The Kid's Last Fight (1933/I) Out All Night (1933) Kid in Hollywood (1933) Glad Rags to Riches (1933) New Deal Rhythm (1933) The Pie-Covered Wagon (1932) The Red-Haired Alibi (1932) War Babies (1932) Runt Page (1932) Kid's Last Stand (1932)


Shirley Temple was the most famous child actor in history. From 1936-

remarkable impressions of such stars as

1938, Temple earned more than any other

Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. While

Hollywood star, starring in films that

S

hirley Temple was easily the most

popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age

In her earliest films, Temple performed

offered an hour and a half of optimism at the height of the Depression. Her movies were credited with restoring the Fox studio to profitability when it had teetered near bankruptcy. Temple’s mother had once had show

of three and soon progressed to super star-

business aspirations, and frequently played

dom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and

the phonograph and attended dance recitals

dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved

while she was pregnant. Eight months after

her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful

she was born, young Shirley was regularly

in her films and they ultimately bought mil-

swaying to music in her crib, and at three

lions of dollars worth of products that had

years of age she began taking dance les-

her likeness on them. Dolls, phonograph re-

sons at Mrs. Meglin’s Dance Studio in Los

cords, mugs, hats, dresses, whatever it was,

Angeles. She was discovered mere months

if it had her picture on there they bought it.

later, when executives from a low-budget film company came by the dance studio. Temple began appearing in “Baby Burlesks”, short films which spoofed popular movies by remaking them with children.

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the cameras rolled, Temple’s mother would be on the sidelines, encouraging Shirley to “Sparkle!”


She met her first husband, actor John At 5, in 1934, she attained fame with

Agar, who was the much older brother of a

a featured role in Stand Up and Cheer,

classmate, and they married when she was

starring Warner Baxter. Shirley starred in

When she was 11, Hollywood producer

17. Agar, however, was unable to handle

several more films the same year, including

(The Wizard of Oz) and lyricist (“Singin’ in

being “Mr. Shirley Temple”, and began to

Little Miss Marker with Adolphe Menjou,

the Rain”) Arthur Freed exposed himself to

drink heavily. She continued appearing in

Baby Take A Bow with Claire Trevor, and

Temple. In her autobiography, Child Star,

adult roles, with diminishing box office suc-

Bright Eyes with James Dunn, where she

Temple wrote, “Having thought of him as

cess, and stopped acting after they divorced

sang her classic “On the Good Ship Lolli-

a producer rather than exhibitor, I sat bolt

when she was 21. Temple fell in love a

pop”. The next year, she broke racial barriers

upright”. She says she laughed at him and

second time just months after the divorce,

by dancing with the original Mr. Bojangles,

walked away, which infuriated him.

when she met pineapple executive Charles

Bill Robinson, in The Little Colonel.

To make her seem even more precocious,

Black while on a vacation to Hawaii. She

her mother subtracted a year from Temple’s

was especially charmed when he admitted

a banker, handled her finances, but even

age, and until she was 13 Temple thought

having never seen any of her films. Temple

then, Hollywood was a ribald and raucous

she had been born in 1929. As she lost her

called an old friend, FBI Director J. Edgar

town. When she was seven, her insurance

curls and began to grow curvy, she made

Hoover, and asked him to check into Black’s

stipulated that it would not pay if she were

fewer movies and, for the first time, attended

background. Shortly thereafter, she became

injured or killed while intoxicated.

a relatively normal albeit private school.

Shirley Temple Black.

Her family was protective, and her father,

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“When I was 14, I was the oldest I ever was. I’ve been getting younger ever since.” ~ Shirley Temple

Of her diplomatic posts, the strongly anti-communist Temple thought her most exciting position was as ambassador to Czechoslovakia, under George H.W. Bush. “I was told I was going to a Stalinist

She briefly returned to acting in 1958,

backwater, one of the toughest countries

as host and sometimes performer of Shirley

around... And I thought, ‘Good! Let’s go

Temple’s Storybook, an anthology series

get ‘em!’” While in Czechoslovakia, she

that ran on NBC and ABC from 1959-62. She began her second career in public life at about the same time, becoming involved in the fight against multiple sclerosis after the disease ravaged her brother George, Jr. She co-founded the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies. In 1967, Temple ran for Congress on a platform urging more American involvement in the war in Vietnam. She lost the election, and attributes this to political cartoons that showed the child Shirley Temple facing off against big grown-up politicians. She was 39 at the time. Shirley Temple

once eluded the secret police and attended Black remained active in Republican poli-

an anti-government rally, and then watched

tics, and was named by Richard M. Nixon

that nation’s 1989 Velvet Revolution from a

to serve as a US representative the United

friend’s apartment.

Nations. She was later an ambassador to

“Shirley Temple doesn’t hurt Shirley

Ghana. During the Ford administration, she

Temple Black”, she once said. “Shirley

was the first female Chief of Protocol for the

Temple helps Shirley Temple Black because

White House, a position she did not enjoy

Shirley Temple is remembered with love

-- one foreign dignitary’s wife expected her

and with affection. I am thought of as a

to act as a hairstylist. She was later a Foreign

friend -- which I am.” Shirley and Charles

Affairs officer for the State Department

Black were married for more than 50 years,

under Ronald Reagan, who had played her

until his death; she continues to reside in

romantic interest in That Hagen Girl four

California.

decades earlier.


Shirley Temple  

Section about Shirley Temple found in a book titled Fame in the 20th Century. Photos and information from the following: Shirley Temple. (...

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