Shirley Temple was a child star
from the age of four. Born on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica
, and raised exclusively for show business
, her first words were *supposedly* "Oui, mon cher", from the lyric to a Rudy Vallee
song, and she took singing and dancing lessons from the age of two. A Hollywood
talent agent visited the class and chose Shirley to appear in shorts for the studio Baby Burlesque
, a movie studio that specialized in parodies of movie hits, with toddlers and very young children playing all the roles. In 1933, the Hayes Code
closed down Baby Burlesque, but a year later she was hired by Fox Studios
and became a star with the film Stand Up and Cheer
(1934), when she was six years old.
Shirley was adorable and charming, with dimples and a head of tight ringlets. On screen she could radiate happiness
, or pout
stirringly. The typical formula for her films often had her in ragamuffin
clothes, with parents dead, gone, or in peril, but her character boundlessly optimistic and able to melt stony adult hearts. She could also sing, with hits like "The Good Ship Lollipop
", from the movie Baby Take a Bow
, and "Animal Crackers
", from the movie Curley Top
. And she could dance, tap dancing memorably with the great Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
in The Little Colonel
. She facilitated typical Depression
era movie escapism
, and F.D.R.
praised her "infectious optimism" and said that "as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right." In 1934, she recieved a miniature Oscar
in recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during that year, and the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
named her "The outstanding personality of 1934." In 1935, Shirley Temple was the first child actor to win an Academy Award
In her first films, Shirley was punished for behaving childishly by being put in a black box, usually used for storing ice, and parents weren't allowed on the set. Baby Burlesque had her play an infant sexpot, impersonating Mae West
and Marlene Dietrich
. And, according to film critic Graham Greene
, the 1936 film Captain January
presented the then 8 year old in a lewd manner as well.
Shirleymania, milked for its full profit by Fox, sold Shirley-endorsed dresses, cereal, and soap, and Shirley Temple dolls sold at a rate of 1.5 million a year. By the time she was twelve she had made 35 movies. As a teenager she brushed out her curls and enrolled in the Westlake School for Girls
. As a teenager she was dropped by Fox and picked up by MGM
, making more movies and starring in a short lived television series, but her appeal had faded and she retired from Hollywood in 1949.
In 1945, Shirley married John Agar
and had a daughter, Susan. They divorced in 1949 and she married Charles A. Black
, and had two children, Lois and Charles Jr.
Shirley Temple Black's political carreer began in the 1960's, when she announced her candidacy for Congress
. She lost, of course, but went on to a carreer with the United Nations
and the State Department
appointed her United States Representative to the United Nations in 1969. Ford
appointed her Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana
and later the first female White House Chief of Protocol
appointed her foreign affairs officer
with the State Department, and Bush
appointed her Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
In 1988 Temple published her autobiography, "Child Star". In 1999 the American Film Institute
voted her 18th on its best actesses before 1950 list. She is currently retired.
Two drinks named after Shirley Temple...
1/4 cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
1 1/2 tablespoons grenadine syrup
1 maraschino cherry
In a highball glass, over ice, combine lemon-lime soda and grenadine. Stir well and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
2 parts Rain Vodka
1 part Cherry Juice (or Grenadine syrup)
Splash of 7-up
Combine Rain Vodka, Cherry Juice, 7-up and ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Shirley Temple Filmography:
Gleaned from the web sites-