Today is the 95th birthday of the child actor, singer, and dancer and adult diplomat Shirley Temple. She was Hollywood’s number one box-office draw as a child actress from 1934 to 1938. We used to watch her films whenever they were on TV. The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.
NAME: Shirley Temple
BIRTH DATE: April 23, 1928
DEATH DATE: February 10, 2014
DID YOU KNOW?: In 1988, Shirley Temple became the only person to date to achieve the rank of honorary U.S. Foreign Service officer.
EDUCATION: Westlake School for Girls
PLACE OF BIRTH: Santa Monica, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Woodside, CA
REMAINS: Interred, Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto, CA
Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1939
Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1989
Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1999 (shared)
Kennedy Center Honor 1998
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1500 Vine St.
BEST KNOWN FOR: Shirley Temple was the leading child actor of her time, receiving a special Oscar and starring in films like Bright Eyes and Heidi.
Shirley Jane Temple was born to a banker and a housewife with two older children, on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California. When Temple was just 3 years old, she landed a contract with Educational Pictures, making her acting debut in a string of low-budget movies dubbed “Baby Burlesques.” Temple’s mother capitalized on the toddler’s natural flair for dancing by enrolling her in dance classes at the age of 3 1/2. Her father became her agent and financial adviser.
The exposure that “Baby Burlesques” afforded Temple led her to a contract with the Fox Film Corporation. When the budding actress was 6 years old, she appeared in her first Hollywood feature film, Carolina. (When off-set, she attended the Westlake School for Girls.) With Fox, Temple made an additional eight films, including the smash hit Little Miss Marker. The young actress, singer and dancer with the bouncing golden corkscrew curls and infectious optimism proved to be an overnight sensation and a top earner for the studio.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Temple “Little Miss Miracle” for raising the public’s morale during times of economic hardship, even going so far as to say, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.” Temple’s song-and-dance routine to the tune “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in 1934’s Bright Eyes earned her a special Academy Award, for “Outstanding Personality of 1934.” By 1940, Temple had 43 films under her belt.
When Shirley Temple began to mature, her popularity with audiences waned. As an adolescent, she appeared in The Blue Bird (1940), which performed poorly at the box office. At age 19, she co-starred as Susan Turner in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. Though the film received critical praise, audiences struggled to accept that their “Little Miss Miracle” was growing up.
Following her 1948 appearance opposite John Wayne in Fort Apache, Temple found it increasingly difficult to land major roles. During the 1950s and early ’60s, she made scattered appearances on the small screen, but her career as a popular film star had ended at an earlier age than most entertainers’ had begun.
As Temple’s entertainment work petered out, she refocused her efforts on a career in public service. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. congressional seat. From 1969 to ’70, she served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Temple was appointed ambassador to Ghana in 1974. Two years later, she became chief of protocol of the United States, a position that she would hold until 1977.
In 1988, Temple became the only person to date to achieve the rank of honorary U.S. Foreign Service officer. From 1989 to ’92, she entered into yet another public service role, this time as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
In December 1998, Temple’s lifetime accomplishments were celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors, held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2005, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.
Temple married actor John Agar Jr. in 1945, when she was only 17 years old. The marriage yielded one child, a daughter named Linda Susan, before ending in divorce in 1949.
Temple remarried the following year, to California businessman Charles Alden Black; she added her husband’s last name to hers, becoming Shirley Temple Black. The couple had two children: a son, Charles, and a daughter, Lori. Shirley and the elder Charles would remain married until his death from complications of a bone-marrow disease in 2005.
Shirley Temple died on February 10, 2014, at her home near San Francisco, California. She was 85 years old. In March 2014, her death certificate cited the cause of her death as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Following her death, Temple’s family and caregivers issued a statement that read: “We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife of 55 years.”
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
A Kiss for Corliss (25-Nov-1949)
The Story of Seabiscuit (11-Nov-1949) as Margaret O’Hara
Adventure in Baltimore (19-Apr-1949) as Dinah Sheldon
Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (15-Apr-1949)
Fort Apache (9-Mar-1948) as Philadelphia Thursday
That Hagen Girl (24-Oct-1947) as Mary Hagen
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (24-Jul-1947) as Susan
Honeymoon (17-May-1947) as Barbara
Kiss and Tell (4-Oct-1945)
I’ll Be Seeing You (5-Jan-1945) as Barbara Marshall
Since You Went Away (20-Jul-1944) as Bridget Hilton
Miss Annie Rooney (29-May-1942)
Kathleen (18-Dec-1941) as Kathleen Davis
Young People (30-Aug-1940)
The Blue Bird (19-Jan-1940) as Mytyl
Susannah of the Mounties (13-Jun-1939) as Susannah Sheldon
The Little Princess (10-Mar-1939) as Sara Crewe
Just Around the Corner (11-Nov-1938) as Penny
Little Miss Broadway (16-Sep-1938)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (18-Mar-1938) as Rebecca Winstead
Heidi (15-Oct-1937) as Heidi
Wee Willie Winkie (30-Jul-1937)
Stowaway (25-Dec-1936) as Ching-Ching
Captain January (11-Sep-1936) as Star
Poor Little Rich Girl (24-Jul-1936)
The Littlest Rebel (22-Nov-1935) as Virginia Cary
Curly Top (2-Aug-1935) as Elizabeth Blair
Our Little Girl (7-Jun-1935) as Molly Middleton
The Little Colonel (22-Feb-1935)
Bright Eyes (11-Dec-1934)
Now and Forever (31-Aug-1934)
Baby, Take a Bow (30-Jun-1934)
Now I’ll Tell (8-Jun-1934)
Little Miss Marker (18-May-1934)
Change of Heart (10-May-1934)
Stand Up and Cheer! (19-Apr-1934)