SHIRLEY TEMPLE: The iconic child movie star’s singing and dancing in movies charmed millions during the Great Depression, when she was the top box-office draw.
Published on Feb 25, 2013
Shirley Temple in a publicity still for ‘Baby Take a Bow’ (1934). (Photo: Photofest) Shirley Temple was born on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California, the third child of homemaker Gertrude Amelia Temple and bank employee George . There never was a star quite like Shirley Temple. Adored by adults and children alike, at four she already led at the Box Office — ahead of Gable and Cooper. Source: Roger Rathbone Image: A&E’s Biography
The New York Times: Shirley Temple Black, who as a dimpled, precocious and determined little girl in the 1930s sang and tap-danced her way to a height of Hollywood stardom and worldwide fame that no other child has reached, died on Monday night at her home in Woodside, Calif. She was 85.
Her publicist, Cheryl Kagan, confirmed her death.
The Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1939, and was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Source: history.com Image: History Learning Site
Mental Floss: 5 STORIES ABOUT SHIRLEY TEMPLE
Thanks to DVDs (and Turner Classic Movies), she will remain a dimpled, curly-topped 5-year-old for generations to come
1. Pre-Natal Stage Mother
Gertrude Temple, Shirley’s mother, already had two sons by the time she was expecting Shirley. Gertrude was a frustrated dancer herself, having grown too tall as a teen to become the ballerina she longed to be. While pregnant with what she hoped would be a daughter, Gertrude played music constantly on the phonograph and radio in an attempt to bless her child with an artistic bent. Shirley was walking by age 13 months, and at age two she tapped her feet rhythmically to music, so the next step for any Hollywood hopeful was dancing school.
2. Cold Feet? No, Cold Seat!
Shirley started taking dancing lessons at the tender age of three. A Hollywood scout spotted her at the dance studio and hired her along with some other children to star in a series of one-reel films called Baby Burlesks. Each film featured children aged three to five dressed in grown-up clothes from the waist up and oversized diapers below, playing adults and reenacting scenes from films such as The Front Page and What Price Glory.
The advent of talking pictures brought with it the invention of the Black Box. It was a portable work station used by sound technicians, six feet square on wheels, with a thick glass viewing port covered by a heavy curtain. The boxes were also soundproof, which made them hot and humid, and the only way to cool them at the time was with a large block of ice. There were two such boxes on the Baby Burlesks sound stage, but only one was used for sound mixing. The other was used to lock up any child actor who suddenly became uncooperative or troublesome while filming. Placed inside the dark enclosure, the child would soon tire of standing, and the only place to sit was on the block of ice. (Parents were not allowed on the set, and the studio conveniently kept the Child Welfare Worker secluded in a separate room outfitted with a radio, refreshments and a sofa.) Shirley reported that after a few confinements in the Black Box (with resultant ear infections), she learned some important show biz lessons: Pay attention. Time is money. Do as you’re told. Get it right the first time. She attributes these lessons learned at age four to her later success; indeed, it was her professionalism as much as her shiny curls that led to her lucrative contract with 20th Century Fox.
3. A Quick Study
Image: Mental Floss
Young Shirley had a near-photographic memory, and knew not only all of her lines but also everyone else’s after her mother read the script to her. Her mother was also careful to explain to Shirley that what she was doing on the movie set was just “playing pretend”—it wasn’t real. Shirley took this advice to heart; after filming a scene in Our Little Girl that required her to snap at co-star Lyle Talbot “And, anyway, I don’t even like you,” the youngster said to the actor solemnly, “I’m sorry, Mr. Talbot, but that line is in the script. I really do like you.”
4. Just a Normal Kid … Sorta
Image: Mental Floss
The Temples did their best to keep Shirley’s childhood as normal as possible. Well, as normal as can be expected when, at age six, she was out-earning her father, and famous folk like Eleanor Roosevelt and Noel Coward came all the way to the 20th Century Fox lot just to meet her. Mrs. Temple asked the parents of Shirley’s neighborhood friends not to let their kids see any of Shirley’s films so that they wouldn’t treat her as “special” or different, and she didn’t allow Shirley to read any of her fan mail until she was much older. Nevertheless, Shirley couldn’t help but pick up some adult phrases from her co-stars, to her mother’s chagrin. She once overheard her 6-year-old daughter tell her checkers opponent, “There aren’t any spots on your suit, but you’re going to the cleaners!”
5. It’s Not Brain Surgery
Image: Mental Floss
Shirley retired from show business at age 21 with no regrets. She was financially secure, since her banker father had wisely invested the millions she’d earned as a child. (Not to mention her second husband, Charles Black, was a very successful business executive.) As a youngster she’d always wanted to go to medical school to become a brain surgeon, but as an adult she decided no one would want “Shirley Temple” as their doctor. Instead, she entered the world of politics.
Published on Jun 24, 2012
Published on Aug 16, 2017
6. In her 40s, Shirley Temple embarked on a second career in public service that lasted through many administrations. In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed her a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. Five years later, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, and from 1989 to 1992 as President George H.W. Bush’s U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Under the leadership of President Gerald R. Ford, she became the first woman named U.S. Chief of Protocol. Another first was her appointment as Honorary U.S. Foreign Service Officer in 1988.
1989 – Detachment Members with Ambassador Shirley Temple Black – Prague, Czechoslovakia Source: www.msg-history.com
7. Before she became Shirley Temple Black, following her marriage to businessman and former naval-affairs consultant Charles Black, she was married to John Agar, a soldier and fellow actor. She was just 17 when she wedded Agar, and while the marriage lasted only four years, it produced a daughter named Linda. Temple met Black shortly after her divorce and the two became engaged after a whirlwind two-week courtship. They were married for nearly 55 years (until Black’s death from bone marrow disease in 2005) and had two children: Charlie, Jr., and Lori. When they were first introduced, Black told her he had never seen any of her movies.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a big fan:
“…as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right. When the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time during this Depression, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”
So was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Published on Jun 20, 2016
Published on Jan 2, 2016
POLITICO : Shirley Temple 10 political facts
2. First female U.S. chief of protocol at the State Department from 1976 to 1977under Ford.
Black was sworn in as first woman Chief of Protocol in Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C., in 1976, accompanied by U.S. President Gerald Ford. Source: TIME Image: Entertainment
3. Worked for the Department of State as a foreign affairs officer-expert from 1981 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan.
4. Named an honorary Foreign service officer in November 1987 by Secretary of State George Shultz under Reagan.
5. Mounted an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. House in 1967. Running as a Republican, Temple Black sought to replace the deceased Rep. J. Arthur Younger to represent San Mateo County, Calif., saying at the time she wanted to break the all-male hold on California’s congressional seats. She lost to Republican Rep. Pete McCloskey.
6. President Gerald Ford joked about her failed congressional bid when swearing Temple Black in as chief of protocol, saying it was likely a good thing. “She dared the congressional route to Washington, following Art Younger. And Shirley was one of several candidates, and I thought she would make an excellent member of the House of Representatives,” Ford said. “But fate didn’t turn it out that way, so you went the diplomatic route in your efforts to come to Washington. You have been so successful in the latter, it’s probably better that you didn’t win it before.”
Shirley Temple Black ~ Dimpled Chief of Protocol Source: Quotabelle | Quote
7. Long before she grew up, left movies and got into politics, Temple Black was still a part of political conversation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared: “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right. … When the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time during this Depression, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”
8. Starred with Reagan long before the pair were colleagues in Washington. Reagan and Temple Black appeared together in the nonpolitical 1947 film “That Hagen Girl,” a box office flop that was damaging to her adult acting career.
That Hagen Girl Source: Wikinow
9. At the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998, President Bill Clinton praised Temple Black’s service. “Shirley Temple had the greatest short career in movie history and then gracefully retired to, as we all know, the far less strenuous life of public service,” Clinton said. “She did a masterful job as ambassador, from Ghana to Czechoslovakia, where she made common cause with Vaclav Havel in the final, decisive days of the cold war. In fact, she has to be the only person who both saved an entire movie studio from failure and contributed to the fall of communism. From her childhood to the present day, Shirley has always been an ambassador for what is best about America.”
Former child star Shirley Temple during her time as a United States ambassador. Source: Getty Images
10. Temple Black’s husband, businessman Charles Black, also engaged in public service. He, too, was a delegate to the United Nations, specifically for Law of the Sea negotiations and a maritime committee, and sat on government advisory committees including the Commerce Department’s Ocean and Atmosphere Management Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Commission on Oceans and Atmosphere.
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