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Shirley Temple

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Title: Shirley Temple  
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Subject: 1935 in film, List of American films of 1934, 1934 in film, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, 1936 in film
Collection: 1928 Births, 2014 Deaths, 20Th Century Fox Contract Players, 20Th-Century American Actresses, 20Th-Century American Singers, Academy Honorary Award Recipients, Academy Juvenile Award Winners, Actresses from Santa Monica, California, Ambassadors of the United States to Czechoslovakia, Ambassadors of the United States to Ghana, American Actor-Politicians, American Child Actresses, American Child Singers, American Female Singers, American Film Actresses, American Methodists, American People of Dutch Descent, American People of English Descent, American People of German Descent, American Tap Dancers, American Television Actresses, American Women Diplomats, Breast Cancer Survivors, California Republicans, Deaths from Lung Disease, Disease-Related Deaths in California, Ford Administration Personnel, George H. W. Bush Administration Personnel, Kennedy Center Honorees, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Contract Players, Nixon Administration Personnel, People from San Mateo County, California, Rca Victor Artists, Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, Singers from California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple in 1944
Born Shirley Temple[note 1]
(1928-04-23)April 23, 1928
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Died February 10, 2014(2014-02-10) (aged 85)
Woodside, California, U.S.
Cause of death Emphysema
Resting place

Alta Mesa Memorial Park

Palo Alto, California
Education Tutors, private high school
Alma mater Westlake School for Girls (1940–45)
Occupation Film actress (1932–50)
TV actress/entertainer (1958–65)
Public servant (1969–92)
Years active 1932–65 (as actress)
1967–92 (as public servant)
Known for Juvenile film roles
Notable work Bright Eyes, The Little Colonel, Curly Top, Wee Willie Winkie, Heidi, The Little Princess, Since You Went Away, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Fort Apache
Television Shirley Temple's Storybook, The Shirley Temple Show
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) John Agar (m. 1945; div. 1950); 1 child
Charles Alden Black (m. 1950; died 2005); 2 children
  • Linda Susan Agar (b. 1948)
  • Charles Alden Black, Jr. (b. 1952)
  • Lori Alden Black (b. 1954)
Awards Academy Juvenile Award
Kennedy Center Honors
Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award
Website .comshirleytemple

Shirley Temple Black (née Temple; April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, and public servant, most famous as Hollywood's number-one box-office star from 1935 through 1938. As an adult, she entered politics and became a diplomat, serving as United States Ambassador to Ghana and later to Czechoslovakia, and as Chief of Protocol of the United States.

Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three. In 1934, she found international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934, and film hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid-to-late 1930s. Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Her box-office popularity waned as she reached adolescence.[1] She appeared in a few films of varying quality in her mid-to-late teens, and retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22. She was the top box-office draw in Hollywood for four years in a row (1935–38) in a Motion Picture Herald poll.[2][3]

Temple returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. She made guest appearances on television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released. She sat on the boards of corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods and the National Wildlife Federation. She began her diplomatic career in 1969, with an appointment to represent the United States at a session of the United Nations General Assembly. In 1988, she published her autobiography, Child Star.[4]

Temple was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She ranks 18th on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female American screen legends of Classic Hollywood cinema.


  • Early years 1
  • Fox films 2
  • 20th Century Fox 3
    • 1935–1937 3.1
    • 1938–1940 3.2
  • Radio 4
  • Last films and retirement 5
  • Temple-related merchandise and endorsements 6
  • Myths and rumors 7
  • Marriages and children 8
  • Television 9
  • Life after Hollywood 10
    • Political career 10.1
    • Breast cancer 10.2
    • Corporation commitments 10.3
  • Death 11
  • Awards, honors and legacy 12
  • Filmography 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
    • Notes 15.1
    • Footnotes 15.2
    • Works cited 15.3
    • Bibliography 15.4
  • External links 16

Early years

Shirley Temple was born on April 23, 1928, in

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Academy Juvenile Award
Succeeded by
Deanna Durbin and Mickey Rooney
Preceded by
James Garner
Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award
Succeeded by
Julie Andrews
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Fred L. Hadsel
United States Ambassador to Ghana
Succeeded by
Robert P. Smith
Preceded by
Henry E. Catto, Jr.
Chief of Protocol of the United States
Succeeded by
Evan Dobelle
Preceded by
Julian Niemczyk
United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
Succeeded by
Adrian A. Basora
  • Official website
  • Shirley Temple's Website
  • Shirley Temple at the Internet Movie Database
  • Shirley Temple at the TCM Movie Database
  • Photographs of Shirley Temple
  • Shirley Temple Rock at the Iverson Movie Ranch
  • at the Iverson Movie RanchWee Willie Winkie
  • Iverson Movie Ranch: History, vintage photos.

External links

  • Basinger, Jeanine (1993). A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930–1960. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 262ff.  
  • Bogle, Donald (2001) [1974]. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. pp. 45–52.  
  • Cook, James W.; Glickman, Lawrence B.; O'Malley, Michael (2008). The Cultural Turn in U.S. History: Past, Present, and Future. University of Chicago Press. pp. 186ff.  
  • Everett, Charles (2004) [1974]. "Shirley Temple and the House of Rockefeller". Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media (2): 1, 17–20. 
  • Kasson, John F. The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America (2014) Excerpt
  • Thomson, Rosemarie Garland, ed. (1996). Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York University Press. pp. 185–203.  


  • Balio, Tino (1995) [1993]. Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930–1939. University of California Press.  
  • Barrios, Richard (1995). A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film. Oxford University Press.  
  • Black, Shirley Temple (1989) [1988]. Child Star: An Autobiography. Warner Books, Inc.  
  • Burdick, Loraine (2003). The Shirley Temple Scrapbook. Jonathan David Publishers, Inc.  
  • Dawicki, Shelley (August 10, 2005). "In Memoriam: Charles A. Black". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  • Hatch, Kristen. Shirley Temple and the Performance of Girlhood (Rutgers University Press, 2015) x, 173 pp.
  • Edwards, Anne (1988). Shirley Temple: American Princess. William Morrow and Company, Inc.  
  • Life Staff (1946-09-16). "Tempest Over Temple: Shirley sips liquor and the W.C.T.U. protests". Life 21 (12): 140. 
  • Thomas, Andy; Scheftel, Jeff (1996). Shirley Temple: The Biggest Little Star. Biography. A&E Television Networks.  
  • Windeler, Robert (1992) [1978]. The Films of Shirley Temple. Carol Publishing Group.  
  • Zipes, Jack, ed. (2000). The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Oxford University Press.  

Works cited

  1. ^ "Shirley Temple".  
  2. ^ Balio 227
  3. ^ Windeler 26
  4. ^ Child Star. McGraw-Hill. 1998.  
  5. ^ Edwards 15, 17
  6. ^ a b Windeler 16
  7. ^ Edwards 15
  8. ^ Burdick 3
  9. ^ Edwards 29–30
  10. ^ Windeler 17
  11. ^ Burdick 6
  12. ^ Edwards 26
  13. ^ Edwards 31
  14. ^ Black 14
  15. ^ Edwards 31–4
  16. ^ Windeler 111
  17. ^ Windeler 113, 115, 122
  18. ^ Black 15
  19. ^ Edwards 36
  20. ^ Black 28
  21. ^ Edwards 37, 366
  22. ^ Edwards 267–9
  23. ^ Windeler 122
  24. ^ Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988), 32-36.
  25. ^ Barrios 421
  26. ^ Edwards 62
  27. ^ Windeler 122, 127
  28. ^ Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 79-83.
  29. ^ Edwards 67
  30. ^ Windeler 143
  31. ^ a b c d Thomas; Scheftel
  32. ^ Black 98–101
  33. ^ Edwards 80
  34. ^ Windeler 27–8
  35. ^ Black 72
  36. ^ Edwards 74–5
  37. ^ a b Edwards 75
  38. ^ Edwards 76
  39. ^ Edwards 75–6
  40. ^ a b Balio 227–8
  41. ^ Zipes 518
  42. ^ Balio 228
  43. ^ Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 130.
  44. ^ a b Windeler 183
  45. ^ Edwards 104–5
  46. ^ Edwards 105, 363
  47. ^ a b Edwards 106
  48. ^ Windeler 35
  49. ^ Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 192-193.
  50. ^ "Box-office Busts/Boys and Girls". Life. pp. 13, 28. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  51. ^ Edwards 120–1
  52. ^ Edwards 122–3
  53. ^ Windeler 207
  54. ^ Edwards 124
  55. ^ Burdick 268
  56. ^ a b Edwards 128
  57. ^ Windeler 38
  58. ^ "Shirley Temple in Title Role Of 'Junior Miss' Radio Drama". Harrisburg Telegraph. February 28, 1942. p. 22. Retrieved March 28, 2015 – via  
  59. ^ Windeler 43–5
  60. ^ Windeler 49, 51–2
  61. ^ a b c Windeler 71
  62. ^ Edwards 206
  63. ^ Edwards 209
  64. ^ Black 479–81
  65. ^ a b Black 85–6
  66. ^ a b c Black, Shirley Temple (1988). Child Star: An Autobiography. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 39–41.  
  67. ^ a b Lindeman, Edith. "The Real Miss Temple". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  68. ^ Edwards 147
  69. ^ Windeler 53
  70. ^ a b c d e f Edwards 355
  71. ^ Edwards 169
  72. ^ Windeler 54
  73. ^ Black 419–21
  74. ^ a b c d e Windeler 68
  75. ^ Edwards 199–200
  76. ^ Black 449
  77. ^ Edwards 199
  78. ^ Edwards 207
  79. ^ a b c Windeler 72
  80. ^ Edwards 211
  81. ^ Edwards 215
  82. ^ Edwards 217
  83. ^ Windeler 72–3
  84. ^ Windeler 74
  85. ^ Dawicki 2005
  86. ^ Edwards 231, 233, 393
  87. ^ Windeler 255
  88. ^ Burdick 112–3
  89. ^ a b Edwards 393
  90. ^ Burdick 115
  91. ^ Burdick 115–6
  92. ^ Edwards 235–6, 393
  93. ^ "Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story (2001)".  
  94. ^ Edwards 233
  95. ^ Edwards 243ff
  96. ^ Windeler 80ff
  97. ^ Sean Howell (July 1, 2009). "Documentary salutes Pete McCloskey". The Almanac Online. Embarcadero Publishing Co. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  98. ^ Romney, Lee (June 11, 2012). "Between two public servants, Purple Heart-felt admiration". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  99. ^
  100. ^ "In Memoriam: Shirley Temple Black". Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  101. ^ Joshua Keating, "Shirley Temple Black's Unlikely Diplomatic Career," Slate, 11 Feb 2014 (
  102. ^ Edwards 356
  103. ^ Windeler 85
  104. ^ a b c Edwards 357
  105. ^ Windeler 105
  106. ^ Craig R. Whitney, "Prague Journal: Shirley Temple Black Unpacks a Bag of Memories," New York Times, 11 Sep 1989 (
  107. ^ Joshua Keating, "Shirley Temple Black's Unlikely Diplomatic Career: Including an Encounter with Frank Zappa," Slate, 11 Feb 2014 (
  108. ^ Thornton, Michael (April 18, 2008). "Shirley Temple: the superstar who had her childhood destroyed by Hollywood".  
  109. ^ Edwards 318, 356–7
  110. ^ "Hollywood star Shirley Temple dies". BBC News. 11 February 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  111. ^ "Shirley Temple, former Hollywood child star, dies at 85". Reuters. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  112. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Shirley Temple revealed to be a secret smoker and actually died from lung disease ... but her family covered it up to protect her 'goody goody' image". Daily Mail. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  113. ^ "Obituary: Shirley Temple".  
  114. ^ "Shirley Temple Black". The National Board of Review. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  115. ^ "History of Past Honorees". The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  116. ^ Burdick 136
  117. ^ "Shirley Temple Black: 2005 Life Achievement Recipient". Screen Actors Guild. Archived from the original on 2008-09-07. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  118. ^ "The Shirley Temple Monument". Nijart. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  119. ^ "Tom Abraham to be honored by Freedoms Foundation Feb. 22", Canadian Record, February 14, 1980, p. 19


  1. ^ While Temple occasionally used "Jane" as a middle name, her birth certificate reads "Shirley Temple". Her birth certificate was altered to prolong her babyhood shortly after she signed with Fox in 1934; her birth year was advanced from 1928 to 1929. Even her baby book was revised to support the 1929 date. She admitted her real age when she was 21 (Burdick 5; Edwards 23n, 43n).
  2. ^ Temple was presented with a full-sized Oscar in 1985 (Edwards 357).
  3. ^ In keeping with her star status, Winfield Sheehan, head of Fox Films before the merger, had built Temple a four-room bungalow at the studio with a garden, a picket fence, a tree with a swing, and a rabbit pen. The living room wall was painted with a mural depicting Temple as a fairy tale princess wearing a golden star on her head. Under Zanuck, Temple was assigned a bodyguard, John Griffith, a childhood friend of Zanuck's (Edwards 77), and, at the end of 1935, Frances "Klammie" Klampt became Temple's tutor at the studio (Edwards 78).
  4. ^ Temple and her parents traveled to Washington, D.C., late in 1935 to meet President Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. The presidential couple invited the Temple family to a cook-out at their home in Hyde Park, New York, where Eleanor, bending over an outdoor grill, was hit smartly in the rear with a pebble from the slingshot Temple carried everywhere in her little lace purse (Edwards 81).
  5. ^ In Dimples, Temple was upstaged for the first time in her film career by Frank Morgan who played Professor Appleby with such zest as to render Temple almost the amateur (Windeler 175).
  6. ^ In 1941, Temple worked radio with four shows for Lux soap and a four-part Shirley Temple Time for Elgin. Of radio she said, "It's adorable. I get a big thrill out of it, and I want to do as much radio work as I can." (Windeler 43)
  7. ^ Temple received her first on-screen kiss in the film (from Dickie Moore, on the cheek) (Edwards 136).
  8. ^ Temple took her first on-screen drink (and spat it out) in Bobby-Soxer. The Women's Christian Temperance Union protested that unthinking teenagers might do the same after seeing Temple in the film (Life Staff 140).
  9. ^ In the 1990s, audio recordings of Temple's film songs and videos of her films were released with Temple receiving no profits. Dolls continued to be released as well as porcelain dolls authorized by Temple and created by Elke Hutchens. The Danbury Mint released plates and figurines depicting Temple in her film roles, and, in 2000, a porcelain tea set (Burdick 136)



See also


In February 1980, Temple was honored by Pennsylvania, along with U.S. Senator Jake Garn of Utah, actor James Stewart, singer John Denver, and Tom Abraham, a businessman from Canadian, Texas, who worked with immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens.[119]

On February 8, 1960, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in films.

On March 14, 1935, Temple left her footprints and handprints in the wet cement at the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. She was the Grand Marshal of the New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California three times in 1939, 1989, and 1999.

Temple was the recipient of many awards and honors including a special Juvenile Academy Award,[70] the Life Achievement Award from the American Center of Films for Children,[104] the National Board of Review Career Achievement Award,[114] Kennedy Center Honors,[115][116] and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.[117] On September 11, 2002, a life-size bronze statue of the child Temple by sculptor Nijel Binns was erected on the Fox Studio lot.[118]

Awards, honors and legacy

Shirley Temple died on February 10, 2014, at the age of 85. She was at her home in Woodside, California, surrounded by family and caregivers.[110][111] Her family stated only that she died of natural causes. The specific cause, according to her death certificate released on March 3, 2014, was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.[112] A lifelong smoker, she avoided revealing her habit in public to avoid setting a bad example for her fans. She is survived by her three children, Susan, Charles Jr. and Lori, granddaughter Teresa and great-granddaughters Lily and Emma.[113]


Temple served on numerous boards of directors of large enterprises and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, Bank of America, the Bank of California, BANCAL Tri-State, Fireman's Fund Insurance, the United States Commission for UNESCO, the United Nations Association and the National Wildlife Federation.[109]

Corporation commitments

In 1972, Temple was diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumor was removed and a modified radical mastectomy performed. Following the operation, she announced it to the world via radio, television, and a February 1973 article for the magazine McCall's. In doing so, she became one of the first prominent women to speak openly about breast cancer.[108]

Breast cancer

[107]. She took the unusual step of personally accompanying Havel on his first official visit to Washington, riding along on the same plane.Václav Havel, which brought about the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia. Temple played a critical role in hastening the end of the Communist regime by openly sympathizing with anti-Communist dissidents and later establishing formal diplomatic relations with the newly elected government led by Velvet Revolution Later, after she became ambassador to Czechoslovakia, she was present during the [106]. Temple, who was stranded at a hotel as the tanks rolled in, sought refuge on the roof of the hotel. She later reported that it was from here she saw an unarmed woman on the street gunned down by Soviet forces, a sight which stayed with her for the rest of her life.Prague Spring on the very day that Soviet-backed forces invaded the country. Dubček fell out of favor with the Soviets after a series of reforms known as the Alexander Dubček Societies and was actually going to meet up with Czechoslovakian party leader Multiple Sclerosis. Temple was in Prague in August 1968, as a representative of the International Federation of Communism She was the first and only female US ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Temple was a personal witness to two crucial moments in the history of Czechoslovakia's fight against [31] Temple got her start in foreign service after her failed run for

Temple was extensively involved with the Commonwealth Club of California, a public-affairs forum headquartered in San Francisco. She spoke at several of the meetings through the years and served as its president in 1984.[99][100]

Following her venture into television, Temple became active in the Republican Party in California. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully in a special election in California's 11th congressional district to fill the seat left vacant by the death of eight-term Republican J. Arthur Younger from leukemia.[95][96] She ran as a conservative and lost to law school professor Pete McCloskey, a liberal Republican who was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War.[97][98]

Political career

Shirley Temple Black
Shirley Temple Black in Prague, 1990
27th United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
In office
August 23, 1989 – July 12, 1992
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Julian Niemczyk
Succeeded by Adrian A. Basora
18th Chief of Protocol of the United States
In office
July 1, 1976 – January 21, 1977
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Henry E. Catto, Jr.
Succeeded by Evan Dobelle
9th United States Ambassador to Ghana
In office
December 6, 1974 – July 13, 1976
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Fred L. Hadsel
Succeeded by Robert P. Smith
Personal details
Born (1928-04-23)April 23, 1928
Santa Monica, California
Died February 10, 2014(2014-02-10) (aged 85)
Woodside, California
Resting place Cremation
Nationality American
Political party Republican

Life after Hollywood

Motivated by the popularity of Storybook and television broadcasts of Temple's films, the Ideal Toy Company released a new version of the Shirley Temple doll and Random House published three fairy tale anthologies under Temple's name. Three hundred thousand dolls were sold within six months and 225,000 books between October and December 1958. Other merchandise included handbags and hats, coloring books, a toy theater, and a recreation of the Baby, Take a Bow polka-dot dress.[94]

Temple continued to work on television, making guest appearances on The Red Skelton Show, Sing Along with Mitch, and other shows.[89] In January 1965, she portrayed a social worker in a sitcom pilot called Go Fight City Hall that was never released.[92] In 1999, she hosted the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars awards show on CBS, and, in 2001, served as a consultant on an ABC-TV production of her autobiography, Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story.[93]

Between January and December 1958, Temple hosted and narrated a successful NBC television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations called Shirley Temple's Storybook. Temple acted in three of the sixteen hour-long episodes, and her son made his acting debut in the Christmas episode, "Mother Goose".[86][87] The series was popular but faced some problems. The show lacked the special effects necessary for fairy tale dramatizations, sets were amateurish, and episodes were telecast in no regular time-slot, making it difficult to generate a following.[88] The show was reworked and released in color in September 1960 in a regular time-slot as The Shirley Temple Show.[89][90] It faced stiff competition from Maverick, Lassie, Dennis the Menace, the 1960 telecast of The Wizard of Oz, and the Walt Disney anthology television series however, and was canceled at season's end in September 1961.[91]

Temple in 1965


The family relocated to Washington, D.C., when Black was recalled to the Navy at the outbreak of the Korean War.[81] Temple gave birth to their son, Charles Alden Black, Jr., in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 1952.[70][82][83] Following the war's end and Black's discharge from the Navy, the family returned to California in May 1953. Black managed television station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, and Temple became a homemaker. Their daughter Lori was born on April 9, 1954.[70] Lori went on to be a bassist in the multi-genre band the Melvins. In September 1954, Charles, Sr. became director of business operations for the Stanford Research Institute and the family moved to Atherton, California.[84] The couple remained married for 54 years until his death on August 4, 2005, at home in Woodside of complications from a bone marrow disease.[85]

In January 1950, Temple met Charles Alden Black, a WWII United States Navy intelligence officer and Silver Star recipient who was Assistant to the President of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.[78][79] Conservative and patrician, he was the son of James B. Black, the president and later chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric, and reputedly one of the richest young men in California.[79] Temple and Black were married in his parents' Del Monte, California, home on December 16, 1950, before a small assembly of family and friends.[70][79][80]

In 1943, 15-year-old Temple met John Agar (1921–2002), an Army Air Corps sergeant, physical training instructor, and a member of a Chicago meat-packing family.[68][69] On September 19, 1945, when Temple was 17 years old, they were married before 500 guests in an Episcopal ceremony at Wilshire Methodist Church in Los Angeles.[70][71][72] On January 30, 1948, Temple gave birth to their daughter, Linda Susan.[70][73][74] Agar became a professional actor and the couple made two films together: Fort Apache (1948, RKO) and Adventure in Baltimore (1949, RKO).[74] The marriage became troubled,[74][75] and Temple divorced Agar on December 5, 1949.[31][74] She was awarded custody of their daughter and restored her maiden name.[74][76][77] The divorce was finalized on December 5, 1950.

Marriages and children

Her biggest trademark, her hair, also was the subject of rumors. One rumor that circulated was that she actually wore a wig. On more than one occasion, fans would yank at her hair to test this theory. As she would later state, she wished all she had to do was wear a wig. The actual nightly process she went through in the setting of her curls was actually tedious and often grueling, with once a week vinegar rinses burning her eyes.[66] Rumors also spread about her hair color, namely that she was not a natural blonde, but this was untrue. During the making of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, news spread that she was going to do extended scenes without her trademark curls. During production, she also caught a cold which caused her to miss a couple days. As a result, a false report originated in Britain that all of her hair had been cut off.[67]

One persistent rumor that was especially prevalent in Europe was the idea that Temple was not a child at all but rather a 30-year-old dwarf due in part to her stockier body type. So prevalent were these rumors that the Vatican dispatched Father Silvio Massante in part to investigate whether or not she was indeed a child. The fact that she never seemed to miss any teeth led some people to conclude she had all her adult teeth. Temple was actually constantly losing teeth throughout her tenure with 20th Century Fox, most notably during the sidewalk ceremony in front of Grauman's Theatre, where she took off her shoes and placed her bare feet in the cement to take attention away from her face. To combat this, she wore dental plates and caps to hide the gaps in her teeth.[66] Another rumor pertaining to her teeth was the idea that they were filed to make them appear like baby teeth, which was false.[67]

At the height of her popularity, Temple was often the subject of a number of myths and rumors, some of which were propagated by 20th Century Fox/Fox Films. In addition to forging her birth certificate to make her a year younger, Fox also publicized her as a natural talent with no formal acting or dance training. As a way of explaining how she knew stylized buck and weave dancing, she was enrolled in the Elisa Ryan School of Dancing for two weeks.[66]

Myths and rumors

Successfully-selling Temple items included a line of girls' dresses and accessories, soap, dishes, cutout books, sheet music, mirrors, paper tablets, and numerous other items. Before 1935 ended, Temple's income from licensed merchandise royalties would exceed $100,000, doubling her income from her movies. In 1936, her income would top $200,000 from royalties. She endorsed Postal Telegraph, Sperry Drifted Snow Flour, the Grunow Teledial radio, Quaker Puffed Wheat,[65] General Electric and Packard automobiles.[31][note 9]

Many Temple-inspired products were manufactured and released during the 1930s. Ideal Toy and Novelty Company in New York City negotiated a license for dolls with the company's first doll wearing the polka-dot dress from Stand Up and Cheer!. Shirley Temple dolls realized $45 million in sales before 1941.[65] A mug, a pitcher, and a cereal bowl in cobalt blue with a decal of Temple were given away as a premium with Wheaties.

Temple leaving the White House offices with her mother and her bodyguard Grif, 1938

Temple-related merchandise and endorsements

According to biographer Robert Windeler, her 1947–49 films neither made nor lost money, but "had a cheapie B look about them and indifferent performances from her".[61] Selznick suggested she move abroad, gain maturity as an actress, and even change her name. She had been typecast, he warned her, and her career was in perilous straits.[61][62] After auditioning for and losing the role of Peter Pan on the Broadway stage in August 1950,[63] Temple took stock, admitted her recent movies had been poor fare, and announced her official retirement from films on December 16, 1950.[61][64]

In 1944, David O. Selznick signed Temple to a personal four-year contract. She appeared in two wartime hits for him: Since You Went Away and I'll Be Seeing You. Selznick however became involved with Jennifer Jones and lost interest in developing Temple's career. She was loaned to other studios with Kiss and Tell, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer,[note 8] and Fort Apache being her few good films at the time.[60]

Within a year of her departure from Twentieth Century-Fox,[note 6] MGM signed Temple for her comeback, and made plans to team her with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney for the Andy Hardy series. The idea was quickly abandoned, with MGM teaming Temple with Garland and Rooney for the musical Babes on Broadway. Fearing that either Garland or Rooney could easily upstage Temple, MGM replaced her with Virginia Weidler. As a result, Temple's only film for Metro became Kathleen in 1941, a story about an unhappy teenager. The film was not a success and her MGM contract was canceled after mutual consent. Miss Annie Rooney followed for United Artists in 1942, but it too was unsuccessful.[note 7] The actress retired for almost two years from films, throwing herself into school life and activities.[59]

Last films and retirement

Temple had her own radio series on CBS. Junior Miss debuted March 4, 1942, with Temple in the title role. The series was based on stories by Sally Benson first published in The New Yorker. Sponsored by Procter & Gamble, Junior Miss was directed by Gordon Hughes, with David Rose as musical director.[58]


In 1940, Temple starred in two consecutive flops at Twentieth Century-Fox, The Blue Bird and Young People.[55][56] Temple's parents bought up the remainder of her contract and sent her at the age of 12 to Westlake School for Girls, an exclusive country day school in Los Angeles.[57] At the studio, Temple's bungalow was renovated, all traces of her tenure expunged, and the building reassigned as an office complex.[56]

In 1939, Temple was the subject of the Salvador Dalí painting Shirley Temple, The Youngest, Most Sacred Monster of the Cinema in Her Time and she was animated and was with Donald Duck in The Autograph Hound.

The Independent Theatre Owners Association paid for an advertisement in the Hollywood Reporter in May 1938 that included Temple on a list of actors who deserved their salaries while others, such as Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford, were described as "whose box-office draw is nil".[50] That year Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway and Just Around the Corner were released. The latter two were panned by the critics, and Corner was the first Temple film to show a slump in ticket sales.[51] The following year, Zanuck secured the rights to the children's novel, A Little Princess, believing the book would be an ideal vehicle for Temple. He budgeted the film at $1.5 million (twice the amount of Corner) and chose it to be her first Technicolor feature. The Little Princess was a 1939 critical and commercial success with Temple's acting at its peak. Convinced Temple would successfully move from child star to teenage actress, Zanuck declined a substantial offer from MGM to star Temple as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (the role was then filled by Judy Garland) and cast her instead in Susannah of the Mounties, her last money-maker for Twentieth Century-Fox.[52][53] The film was successful, but because she made only two films in 1939 instead of the usual three or four, Temple dropped from number one box-office favorite in 1938 to number five in 1939.[54]

Temple in The Little Princess


The only other Temple film released in 1937 was Heidi.[47] Midway through the shooting of the movie, the dream sequence was added into the script. There were reports that Temple was behind the dream sequence and that she was enthusiastically pushing for it but in her autobiography she vehemently denied this. Her contract gave neither her nor her parents any creative control over the movies she was in. She saw this as the collapse of any serious attempt by the studio to build upon the dramatic role from the previous movie Wee Willie Winkie.[49]

Temple and Twentieth Century-Fox sued for libel and won. The settlement remained in trust for Temple in an English bank until she turned twenty-one, when it was donated to charity and used to build a youth center in England.[47][48]

Her admirers—middle-aged men and clergymen—respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire.[46]

The film was a critical and commercial hit.[44] but British writer and critic Graham Greene muddied the waters in October 1937 when he wrote in a British magazine that Temple was a "complete totsy" and accused her of being too nubile for a nine-year-old:

Based on Temple's many screen successes, Zanuck increased budgets and production values for her films. By the end of 1935, Temple's salary was raised to $2,500 a week.[43] In 1937, John Ford was hired to direct the sepia-toned Wee Willie Winkie (Temple's own favorite) and an A-list cast was signed that included Victor McLaglen, C. Aubrey Smith and Cesar Romero.[44][45] Elaborate sets were built at the famed Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., for the production, with a rock feature at the heavily filmed location ranch eventually being named in honor of Temple and becoming known as Shirley Temple Rock.

In the contract they signed in July 1934, Temple's parents agreed to four films a year from their daughter (rather than the three they wished). A succession of films followed: The Little Colonel, Our Little Girl, Curly Top (with the signature song "Animal Crackers in My Soup"), and The Littlest Rebel in 1935. Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel were named to Variety's list of top box office draws for 1935.[42] In 1936, Captain January, Poor Little Rich Girl, Dimples,[note 5] and Stowaway were released. Curly Top was Temple's last film before the merger of 20th Century and Fox.


Most films Temple starred in were cheaply made at $200,000 or $300,000 per picture and were comedy-dramas with songs and dances added, sentimental and melodramatic situations aplenty, and little in the way of production values. Her film titles are a clue to the way she was marketed—Curly Top and Dimples, and her "little" pictures such as The Little Colonel and The Littlest Rebel. Temple often played a fixer-upper, a precocious Cupid, or the good fairy in these films, reuniting her estranged parents or smoothing out the wrinkles in the romances of young couples. She was very often motherless, sometimes fatherless, and sometimes an orphan confined to a dreary asylum.[40] Elements of the traditional fairy tale were woven into her films: wholesome goodness triumphing over meanness and evil, for example, or wealth over poverty, marriage over divorce, or a booming economy over a depressed one.[41] As Temple matured into a pre-adolescent, the formula was altered slightly to encourage her naturalness, naïveté, and tomboyishness to come forth and shine while her infant innocence, which had served her well at six but was inappropriate for her tweens (or later childhood years), was toned down.[40]

Photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt seated with Temple immediately to her left. The two are looking at each other apparently engaged in conversation.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Temple in July 1938

Biographer Anne Edwards writes about the tone and tenor of Temple films under Zanuck, "This was mid-[39][note 4]

Fox Films merged with Twentieth Century Pictures to become 20th Century Fox in 1935. Producer and studio head Darryl F. Zanuck focused his attention and resources upon cultivating Temple's superstar status. With four successful films to her credit, she was the studio's greatest asset. Nineteen writers known as the Shirley Temple Story Development team created 11 original stories and some adaptations of the classics for her.[36][note 3]

20th Century Fox

On December 28, 1934, Bright Eyes was released. It was the first feature film crafted specifically for Temple's talents and the first in which her name appeared above the title.[29][30] Her signature song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop", was introduced in the film and sold 500,000 sheet-music copies. The film demonstrated Temple's ability to portray a multidimensional character and established a formula for her future roles as a lovable, parentless waif whose charm and sweetness mellow gruff older men.[31] In February 1935, Temple became the first child star to be honored with a miniature Juvenile Oscar for her 1934 film accomplishments,[32][33][34][note 2] and she added her foot- and handprints to the forecourt at Grauman's Chinese Theatre a month later.[35]

Following the success of her first three 1934 movies, it soon became apparent to the Temples that the amount of money she was being paid was not commensurate with the amount of money her films generated for the studios. Her image also started to appear on numerous commercial products without approval and without compensation. In an effort to get control over the corporate piracy of her image and to negotiate with Fox, Temple's parents hired the lawyer Loyd Wright to represent them. On July 18, 1934, Temple's contract was raised to $1,000 a week and her mother's salary was raised to $250 a week, with an additional $15,000 bonus for each movie completed. Cease and desist letters were sent out to several companies and the process was started for awarding corporate licenses.[28]

While walking out of the viewing of her last Frolics of Youth picture, Fox Film songwriter Jay Gorney saw Temple dancing in the movie theater lobby. Recognizing her from the screen, he arranged for her to have a tryout for the movie Stand Up and Cheer!. Arriving for the audition on December 7, 1933, she won the part and was signed to a $150-per-week contract guaranteed for two weeks by the Fox Film Corporation. The role turned out to be a breakthrough performance for her. Her charm was evident to Fox heads, as she was ushered into corporate offices almost immediately after the completion of the Baby Take a Bow song and dance number she did with James Dunn. On December 21, 1933, her contract was extended to a year at the same $150/week with a seven-year option and her mother Gertrude was hired on at $25/week as her hairdresser and personal coach.[24] Released in May 1934, Stand Up and Cheer! became Temple's breakthrough film. Within months, she became the symbol of wholesome family entertainment.[25] In June, her success continued with a loan-out to Paramount for Little Miss Marker.[26][27]

Temple's hand and foot prints at Grauman's Chinese Theater

Fox films

Baby Burlesks was a series of one-reelers; another series of two-reelers called Frolics of Youth followed, with Temple playing Mary Lou Rogers, a youngster in a contemporary suburban family.[17] To underwrite production costs at Educational, Temple and her child co-stars modeled for breakfast cereals and other products.[18][19] She was lent to Tower Productions for a small role in her first feature film (The Red-Haired Alibi) in 1932[20][21] and, in 1933, to Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros., for various bit parts.[22][23] After Educational Pictures declared bankruptcy in 1933, her father purchased her contract for $25.

While at Meglin's, she was spotted by Charles Lamont, a casting director for Educational Pictures. Although Shirley hid behind the piano while in the studio, Lamont took a shine to her, inviting her to audition, and in 1932, signed her to a contract. Educational Pictures were about to launch their Baby Burlesks,[13][14][15][16] a series of short films satirizing recent film and political events, using preschool children in every role. Because the children were dressed as adults and given mature dialogue, the series was eventually seen as dated and exploitive.

[12].Mary Pickford star silent film similar to those of ringlets About this time, Temple's mother began styling her daughter's hair in [11][10][9] in Los Angeles.Meglin's Dance School Temple's mother encouraged her infant daughter's singing, dancing, and acting talents, and in September 1931, enrolled her in [8][7][6]

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