Later, it was by the way she impressed the world by bouncing from ex-child star to U.S. Ambassador. But how exactly did she make that transition? And whatever happened to Shirley?
Destined for Greatness
Like all child stars, it was Shirley’s parents (her mother, Gertrude) and not herself who made the decision to enter into the world of entertainment. Gertrude saw her adorable little girl and decided to put her in a prestigious performing arts academy when she was less than three years old.
Shirley would later admit that she loved the work and the fast-paced lifestyle. In fact, she admitted in an interview that her mother wasn’t “pushy like other stage moms,” and that sometimes she felt like she pulled her around.
Brightening the Room
Things were pretty bad in the days of the Great Depression. In a time when there wasn’t much to smile about in real life, the dimple-cheeked, sweet little Shirley Temple provided some much-needed comic relief (and cuteness) to audiences across the nation.
She played in a number of movies throughout the 1930s, most of which were lighthearted musicals.
It was clear from a very young age that Temple was destined for greatness. She started dance lessons right around the time she began her career in the entertainment industry.
Her smile could light up a room, and that’s exactly what Hollywood executives saw when she came their way. In fact, 20th Century Fox was just dying to mold her into their perfect little star – which is exactly what they did.
Rise to Fame
Shirley’s film career began in 1931 when she was just three years old. Over the course of the next seven years, she’d appear in nearly 30 movies, warming the hearts of people everywhere.
She wouldn’t achieve international stardom until 1933 when she appeared in her hit, Bright Eyes. Afterward, young Shirley Temple would become a household name. She started to pop up on screens all across America, brightening the faces of people from all different walks of life.
Not My Gang
"Our Gang," which was also known as "The Little Rascals," was a series of short films, put together by a troupe of adorable, talented children. But whoever was in charge of casting for the series made a few mistakes that they probably regretted a lot later on down the road.
Two of those mistakes were turning their backs on future stars Shirley Temple, and Mickey Rooney. Seriously, though, how could they have said no to little Shirley Temple?
The Face of it All
Shirley Temple had a salary that would put most people in this day and age to shame – which is pretty sad when you think about it. But, as much money as she raked in from singing and dancing across the screen in films, a lot of the money came from advertisements for major brands.
Shirley appeared in a number of ads for all sorts of companies, including Dodge and Quaker Oats, among many others. She continued to appear in ads throughout the years, even into her teens, including one 1944 ad she shot for Royal Crown Cola, including their catchphrase, “it does taste best!”
The Academy Award Goes To
In 1935, the Board of Governors actually invented a brand new, honorary award just for 6-year-old Shirley Temple. The award was a miniature Oscar, making her the youngest person in history to receive the Juvenile Award.
After presenting her with the honor, 11 other children received the same award between ’35 and 1960. Actress Tatum O’Neal was the first to ever receive the "big" version of the Oscar award.
There’s no question about the fact that Shirley’s curly locks defined her on-screen persona. She had curls most little girls would envy.
Her mother also acted as her hairstylist, and a lot of time and energy went into creating the look on a regular basis.
Aside from taking Shirley to each performance and working as her moral support, her mother Gertrude was also receiving a steady, weekly paycheck for her efforts on her daughter’s hair.
After all, she did typically pin about 55 individual curls into her head each night before bedtime – which couldn’t have been very comfortable for Shirley to sleep on. Still, her mother received $250/week for the styling.
Just like conspiracy theories about “MK Ultra” and shadowy secret groups in Hollywood, there was no difference in Shirley’s heyday. In fact, there was a time when she was actually accused of being a communist.
The conspiracy got so out of control that it was even taken up to Congress for debate. She was just ten years old at the time. The accusations came from a member of the House of Un-American Activities Community, who was later ridiculed and shunned for the entire (insane) debacle.
Shirley Temple was a beacon of hope and light in a very dark world, during even darker times. She smiled and sang and danced, lighting up the screens and bringing joy to audiences everywhere, during the midst of the Great Depression.
She had a fanbase that stretched far and wide and included people from all walks of life, from farmers to the president of the U.S, and other powerful people.
The Shirley Temple
Temple got so famous that even a drink was named after her. A Shirley Temple is a mixture of ginger ale and a splash of super-sweet grenadine syrup, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Sometimes, the ginger ale is swapped out with lemon-lime soda or even lemonade, and some people choose to include a splash of orange juice as well.
According to the actress, she would order these all of the time when going out to eat with her parents as a child. It is a perfect “mocktail,” with just the right amount of sweetness!
Many people did, and still do, find a lot of Shirley Temple’s films to be incredibly creepy. This is particularly true for "Baby Burlesks", a series in which the three-year-old plays a burlesque dancer, dressing in racy costumes and dancing around, as per usual.
She would later call the entire series a “cynical exploitation of our childish innocence,” when she wrote about it in her 1988 autobiography.
Keep on Dancing
In 1936, controversy struck again when little Shirley Temple appeared on-screen in "Captain January," donning a skimpy hula outfit and a lei. When the film was first tested on audiences – they did not approve.
In fact, it was protested to a point that many viewers even referred to the entire thing as being “immoral.” But that still wouldn’t be the most controversial of the works the young star would put out during her heyday.
Shirley Temple appeared in "Curly Top" in 1935. It wound up being one of her most successful films of all time, with some favorite numbers including Animal Crackers in my Soup, and The Simple Things in Life.
Still, the film wound up being banned in Denmark, with the official reasoning being called “unspecified corruption.”
"Curly Top" was beloved here in the United States, but a few other countries were concerned about the message it was sending and wouldn’t allow it to be shown. It ended up being banned not only in Denmark but also in Italy and Switzerland.
Still, Shirley seemed to have a good time filming the movie – as she often did – unless, of course, she was being harshly disciplined to keep her in line.
The Dark Room
There are still plenty of dark rumors to emerge out of Hollywood these days regarding children in the entertainment industry. However, many people don’t wind up talking about their experiences until after their days of performing are behind them.
Take Shirley, who admitted to being forced to sit on a block of ice in a dark sound booth. It took many years for Hollywood to abandon their cruel methods.
While Shirley may have been one of a few child stars to emerge unscathed from the woes of growing up in Hollywood, it doesn’t mean she didn’t go through some pretty wild experiences along the way.
She was at the center of a few conspiracies, some of which involved powerful people, including politicians and religious figures. Others, however, were simply ordinary crazy people, like one woman who attacked Shirley in 1939, claiming she thought she’d stolen her daughter’s soul.
Adult in a Child’s Body
There was one point in time when this little girl was seriously investigated by the Vatican after rumors started to swirl that she was actually a grown woman in a child’s body.
Her mom likely hid most of this from her at the time, as best as possible, but it must have been interesting to learn once she’d gotten older!
Many members of both the public and media had loads to say about the raciness of Shirley’s productions. Novelist Graham Greene had this to say when she was just nine, “adult emotions of love and grief glissade across the mask of childhood, a childhood that is only skin-deep. It is clever, but it cannot last.
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.”
Missing a Chance
In 1944, National Velvet, starring Mickey Rooney and a young Elizabeth Taylor, hit the screens. The film was based on a 1935 novel and was exceptionally well received by critics and audiences alike. Things could’ve been a bit different, perhaps, if Shirley Temple would’ve held the role Taylor played.
That’s what would’ve happened if filmmakers would’ve had their first choice. Unfortunately, Shirley’s mother turned the role down, as she believed it to be under her daughter’s level.
Most people can only dream of retiring early, but for Shirley, it was all too real, when she retired from the industry at the young age of 22. However, for someone who’d been acting for so many years, it felt like the right time.
She was tired of only landing smaller, less substantial roles across the board and, in 1950, announced her exit from entertainment.
Praised for her Efforts
Most three-year-olds are busy throwing tantrums about not getting the toys or snacks that they want, but Shirley Temple was making major motion pictures in the prime of her childhood. She had earned a number of awards before she was even seven years old. In 1934, she got the Juvenile Academy Award for her outstanding work in several movies from 1931 until that point.
Anyone trying to compare their life’s accomplishments with Shirley Temple would likely feel a bit…inadequate. After all, she’d earned an Oscar before she would’ve been old enough to graduate elementary school!
Beloved by Many
Shirley Temple was a favorite of many famous and powerful people, hence the U.S President at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, invited her to visit him while she was traveling through the capital.
She had already met Mrs. Roosevelt once before, but they would meet again on this road trip Temple was taking through D.C. During the said trip, as the President’s wife leaned over, the young actress lined up a slingshot and let it rip – straight into Mrs. Roosevelt’s behind!
As she started to age into her teen years, Shirley’s interest in being wrapped up in filming for the majority of her days started to fade away. She yearned to have more experiences like other girls her age.
Ultimately she got what she dreamed of when her mother found the perfect private school for her to attend. Temple was thrilled to arrive and spend a lot of time with other teenage girls, away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.
Leaving Fame Behind
As Shirley started to have these new, “normal” teenage experiences, she was slowly leaving the last traces of her fame behind. After all, the majority of her power on-screen came from the adorable baby-faced child actress that once graced the screen.
It’s not that she wasn’t still incredibly talented, just that she started to lose interest, and the world subsequently did the same.
Slowing her Roll
Between the ages of three and ten, the actress appeared in 29 movies. In comparison, she only acted in 14 from the ages of 14-21. Her beauty and youthfulness held long into her adult years.
Still, she had lost interest in Tinseltown and began looking for different types of opportunities. She probably had very little to no idea that she’d end up representing the U.S. as the Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
The American Dream
Like most girls her age at the time, Shirley dreamed of starting a family of her own. But in order to do that, she needed to take the first step into entering a serious romantic relationship.
She had dreams of becoming the first girl in her class at school to tie the knot. And, in 1943, she would meet the man who would fulfill those dreams and take her as his bride before she even turned 18. It looks like her dream of becoming a young bride was about to become a reality.
Going to the Chapel
When Shirley was 17 years old, she married her boyfriend of nearly two years, Army Air Corps sergeant John Agar. They held the ceremony, which was attended by 500 guests, in a Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
A few years later, the couple would give birth to their daughter, Linda Susan. After his stint in the military, Agar chose to enter into the world of entertainment himself, and the two even made a couple of films together.
Getting to Know You
Agar and Temple had actually known each other for quite some time before they got married. Agar’s younger sister had gone to school with the actress and met her when she was just 15.
In 1944, her future husband acted as her escort to a party held by her boss. The following year was when he popped the question. And of course, since she had been dreaming of getting married, she was quick to say “yes.”
Calling it Quits
Although the two had seemingly remained strong for several years, things behind closed doors weren’t all sunshine and unicorns. Shirley realized very early on in the marriage that she was with someone who had serious substance abuse problems.
That was just the beginning of the rocky road that was their marriage. In 1949, the couple decided to officially split up and got divorced. The actress wound up with custody of their daughter.
Aside from being mistreated by her husband; Shirley had dealt with a fair share from studio executives over the years. Perhaps this had something to do with why she started to slow down on filming. She one time reported being chased around a desk by David O’Selznick who was trying to force himself on her.
Her reaction? A swift kick to the groin. Some say that wanting to get married early was a pressure she felt due to all of the violence she faced from studio execs.
After going to school, Shirley made her comeback with MGM, thanks to signing a contract in 1944 with O’Selznick. Unfortunately, once he became romantically involved with Jennifer Jones, he reportedly stopped caring about doing anything to develop Shirley’s career.
Then, in December of 1950, Shirley made the announcement that she was retiring from the film. It wouldn’t be the last the world would see of the actress, however.
Meeting Mr. Right
It was the same year she announced her retirement (1950,) that she took a trip out to Honolulu, Hawaii – where she would happen to have a “meet-cute” with her future husband, Charlie Black.
It was where Black happened to be living and working at the time, and Shirley was fascinated by him from the moment they met, which wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the flat surf conditions at the moment.
The night the two would first lock eyes went down at a cocktail party, at which both the actress and Mr. Black were in attendance. It seemed fortuitous that he would call his friend to ask whether or not surf conditions were right.
His friend informed him that they were not and that he should instead opt for the party. It was at this very cocktail party where he would meet the woman who would forever change his life. The two fell in love and spent the next five and a half decades together.
Tying the Knot
The same year that she retired from acting, Temple met and married her second husband, WWII Navy Intelligence Officer, Charles Alden Black. His father happened to be president and chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric, making him one of the richest men in California, and the country in general.
After the wedding, the two moved to Washington D.C after Black was called back to duty. A few years later, Temple would give birth to Charles Alden Black Jr.
Later in Life
In the 1960s, Shirley became active in politics as a member of the Republican Party of California. She even tried her hand at running for office in the state’s 11th congressional district. Although she was unsuccessful in the attempt, it didn’t stop her from moving forward in her career.
She served in three different ambassadorships, as a U.S delegate to the United Nations under President Nixon in ’69, along with serving as an ambassador to Ghana from ’74-’76, and Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
Making her Move
When she was a girl, Shirley Temple was the adorable household name everyone in America knew and loved. This included powerful political and other public figures, including J. Edgar Hoover and of course, Eleanor Roosevelt, among several others.
This was her first introduction to faces which would later help her make her way into politics. As Shirley started to move further away from the world of entertainment, she started moving towards her ultimate career as a U.S. Ambassador.
Running for Office
In 1967, Shirley Temple Black threw her hat in the ring for a seat in California’s congress. She was optimistic about becoming the first woman to hold the position in the state. The former actress considered herself to be a Republican-Independent, running for the GOP nomination.
Unfortunately, she lost to Pete McCloskey, an experienced politician who’d unsuccessfully challenged President Nixon for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 1972 but remained in the House until the early 1980s.
Shirley refused to let her unsuccessful run for office deter her from trying to help the American people, as she so desperately craved. Plus, she still had friends in high places.
In 1969, President Nixon appointed her as a part of the diplomatic team to the United Nations. This was her first stepping stone to becoming the U.S. Ambassador to multiple countries, including Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
All of the work the former actress had done with her life had not gone unnoticed. In fact, she received a number of awards, including the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
At one point, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be alright.” She was also named an honorary U.S. Foreign Service Officer and received the Kennedy Center Honors award in 1998.
Growing up Fast
Shirley Temple Black’s career as a movie star hit its peak before she had even been alive for a full decade. She was quoted as revealing something a bit grim about her childhood.
The actress said, "I stopped believing in Santa when I was six years old." My mom took me to the mall to see him, and he asked me for my autograph.” Really, Santa? That’s a great way to ruin someone’s childhood!
Making a Star
You may be wondering how this baby, who wasn’t even two years old at the time, worked such long hours on a seemingly ongoing basis. As you might have guessed, it wasn't easy.
She made 50 films by the time she retired at 22; that’s more films than some actors and actresses make in the entirety of their careers. But was it worth it all for a child, who probably didn’t care much about her million-dollar salary?
Leaving a Legacy
The beloved actress and public figure passed away in 2014 at the age of 85. She was a heavy smoker which was probably the cause. It was Temple's greatest secret as barely anyone saw her with a cigarette in hand.
It was the former child star's biggest secret and a real tragedy when the world lost her.
Why She Wrote Child Star
On a 1988 television talk show called “Town Meeting,” Shirley Temple was the featured guest. She talked about her life as a child actress and her book, “Child Star.” She said she initially started writing it for her children and for her family.
One of her main motivations was to correct inaccuracies about her. She said there were 12 biographies out there, and plenty of room for corrections. One of the biographies had 526 factual errors. After six years of writing, she decided to publish her own bio.
First Awareness Advocate
At 44, Mrs. Temple Black developed breast cancer. She became one of the first supporters of cancer awareness. Most cancer surgeries were secret at the time, but Temple discussed her experience openly.
She even invited the press into her hospital room and discussed everything openly the day after her surgery. She hoped it would help other women and urged them to pay attention to lumps instead of sitting home fearfully.
Little Miss Miracle
Shirley Temple received a nickname from a very powerful person, indeed. She lifted so many spirits during the Great Depression with her movies and her upbeat performances that President Franklin D. Roosevelt named her “Little Miss Miracle.”
He pointed out that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and forget about their troubles for an hour and a half. She was like a national treasure in the way her positive spirit affected struggling citizens, bringing uncounted smiles to the faces of Americans.
Depression Era Cash Cow
Can you believe Shirley Temple was so famous that she was photographed more than FDR? She was such a hit with Americans that she saved Fox studios from going under. In 1933 the studio signed her for what would be her breakout film, “Stand Up and Cheer!”
Her success at Fox, which was nearly bankrupt at the time, facilitated the merge with 20th Century Pictures, saving the studio. Now called 20th Century Fox, the new studio would capitalize on the sensation of the little miracle girl.
Shirley Temple made an appearance at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on March 14, 1935. Smiling for the cameras, she pressed her hand and footprints into the wet concrete officially marking her stardom. She was the youngest Hollywood star ever to leave her prints in the rotunda at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
She was so young, that she needed help writing her name into the concrete next to her handprints. It says, “Love to you ALL,” and her name plus the date.
Discovered by Producers
The private school that Shirley’s mother enrolled her 2-year-old daughter in was called Mrs. Meglin’s Dance Studio. It was located in Los Angeles and cost 50 cents per week, which she obviously considered a good investment.
One day in 1932, a talent agent from Educational Films Corporation saw the toddler’s ability and offered a part in “Baby Burlesks.” It was not the best experience, but it launched her meteoric career.
A Year Younger
A backroom conspiracy led by Shirley’s mother Gertrude and the studio to hide the young actresses' age began at age five. Instead of saying she was five, they said she was a four-year-old. Other efforts to mask the child’s age included keeping her skirts shorter to expose her chubby toddler legs.
Later, as a 12-year-old, though she was thought to be 11, MGM bound her chest to hide her teenage development. It was only a matter of time before it became impossible to hide her body away.
Shirley Temple had a $150 per week contract with Fox but the studio allowed her to go over to Paramount, for a fee, of course, to make a movie. This movie happened to be “Bright Eyes,” one of her most legendary films. It brought the world her enduring song, “The Good Ship Lollipop,” a syrupy-sweet catchy tune.
Shirley was 6 years old when she played an orphan in that movie and it set the scene for many other films in which she played an orphan. “Bright Eyes” made her the highest-paid star in Hollywood from 1935 to 1938.
The Shirley Temple Doll
The Ideal Toy Corporation began making a doll in Shirley Temple’s image in 1934. The toy company received licensing permission from Shirley’s parents to make it. The doll came out on the heels of the success with “Stand Up and Cheer.”
It was on shelves from 1934 to 1939. The Shirley Temple doll is the most popular personality doll of all time. Other companies have made dolls, but the Ideal Toy Corporation version is the most popular collectible.
She Made $3.2 Million
Shirley Temple earned $3.2 million during her 20-year career. In today’s dollars, it would be worth over $68 million. Still, when she decided to take a look at how much money was in her trust fund from her days as a child actor, she found almost all of it was spent.
There was barely $40,000 left. After learning her father mismanaged it, possibly illegally, and spent it, she responded with her trademark good nature saying that she felt no ill will. According to her autobiography “Child Star,” she wrote that, inexplicably, she felt no disappointment or anger.
An Uncaring Production
When Shirley Temple was just three years old making “Runt Page,” production at the show was very strict. It became especially obvious once the young actress developed an ear infection during the first days of the shoot.
Her mother, Gertrude, had to rush her daughter to the hospital to have her ear lanced. Gertrude begged producer Jack Hays to allow Shirley a day of rest. He refused and demanded she'd be at the set in the morning, or else she’d be replaced.
Why 20th Century Fox Dropped Her
The last movie Shirley Temple starred in was called “Blue Bird.” It was a 1940 film that the studio hoped would be an answer to the success of “The Wizard of Oz.” Since rumors circulated about her being involved in the MGM movie, “Blue Bird” was supposed to be her shot at that type of movie.
Instead, it flopped, failing to bring in a large audience, prompting the studio to cancel her contract. In the technicolor movie, Temple played a distempered child who was searching for happiness. It did not do well, but, ironically, the movie was nominated for two Oscars.
A True Little Princess
In 1939, Temple brought to us one of her most iconic movies. "The Little Princess" was based on a 1905 novel and was Temple's first movie to be shot fully in Technicolor. It was a 1930s Cinderella story.
"The Little Princess" was her last movie as a child superstar and the most expensive movie she appeared in throughout her entire career.
Most Famous Child Star Ever
Not only was Shirley Temple more famous than any actor or actress during her run — far more famous than even Clark Gable — but she is the most famous child actor of all time. During her run from 1935 to 1939, she received more fan mail than film legend Greta Garbo and was photographed more than the president of the United States, who adored her.
No childhood actor has achieved worldwide fame in Hollywood at the level of Shirley Temple. She is considered the most famous child star ever.
Mom as Acting Coach
As Shirley Temple was a toddler when she began her career, she needed help learning her lines. Unable to read yet, her mother would read her lines to her while bathing and getting ready for bed. Shirley would answer the lines back as her mother set all 56 of her curls.
Her mother also read the entire script to Shirley. When she was taping “Baby Burlesque,” she would know, by heart, everyone’s lines. If someone said their line incorrectly during the shoot, Shirley would point it out. And she never forgot even one of her lines.
A Child Prodigy
Shirley Temple was more than just extremely talented, charismatic, and just plain adorable. She was a child prodigy. With an IQ of 155, she learned tap routines very quickly. A photographic memory helped her memorize lines, song lyrics, and dance routines.
Because she was so exceptional, people questioned her age, just like the Vatican who suspected she was a grown woman. Others, like novelist Graham Greene, thought she was a dwarf in disguise and spread those rumors.
She Learned From the Best
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was responsible for teaching tap dancing to Shirley Temple. She would learn the dance, not by watching, but by listening to the sound of his taps. She was six years old when she starred in “The Little Colonel” (1935) with Bojangles. They were the first interracial dance pair in a movie.
She said they held hands while she tapped along by listening to him. In the South, however, before civil rights, their hand-holding scenes were cut. She said there was a “kind of a magic” between them. The two adored each other and remained friends until he passed away.
Fox Studio Protected Shirley
Shirley Temple was an exceptional asset to Fox, and they guarded her ferociously. Afraid of kidnappers or other threats of the day, Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck personally hired security man John Griffith to watch over her. Griffith happened to be Zanuck’s childhood friend.
Zanuck also sheltered his young star inside of a roomy bungalow located right at the studio. No need to leave the lot. She had a playhouse, a garden with a picket fence, and a fairy-tale-themed living room. She also had a tree with a swing and a rabbit pen.
That Hagen Girl
Shirley Temple starred with Ronald Reagan, long before he was governor of California and even longer before he was president of the United States. When Temple came out with her autobiography, “Child Star,” in 1988, she spilled that Reagan, who played the leading man, was one of the best kissers.
The 1947 movie flopped and was forgotten about. In her book, she says it was one of the worst movies either of them had made.
A Contract for Baby Linda Susan?
On January 30, 1948, when Shirley Temple was still married to her first husband John Agar, their daughter Linda Susan was born. Shortly after her birth, O’Selznick Studios offered the baby a movie contract, sight unseen.
As you might expect, the former child star immediately turned down the offer to put her baby in movies. Dealing with studio bosses like David O’Selznick — whose mistreatment towards women was known and something we know Shirley fought off — further explains why she would never put her child in his movies.
An Early Feminist
Shirley Temple Black was the first woman to serve as White House chief of protocol when she was appointed in 1976. She remarked that she would be filling the shoes of many men before her and pointed out that she is proud to be the first woman in that role.
Before that, you may recall, she had advocated for women with breast cancer. In the end, despite the good she had done standing up for women, she did not want to be associated with the women’s lib movement, preferring to stay in step with her political party.
The Studio Demanded She Stay Silent
Soon after Linda Susan was born, when Shirley Temple was 21, she was voted Mother of the Year. Not much longer after that, she announced her divorce from John Agar. The studio, as pushy as always, told Temple not to announce the divorce.
The “Mother of the Year” title was such great publicity, that they urged her to be silent. Shirley laughed it off. She responded facetiously quipping that she at least had not been voted “wife of the year.”
As a child, Shirley Temple loved her slingshot. She was a tomboy. Every day after the shoot she would take off her frilly dress and change into play clothes, wearing jeans and a t-shirt so she could climb her tree.
That slingshot was her favorite toy. She carried it in her little bag everywhere she went and longed to finish shooting so she could transform into the real Tomboy-Temple at the end of every day.
Why Her Mom Never Left Her Side
Gertrude Temple was a dedicated mother and attended her daughter dutifully at every shoot. This, on top of setting her hair and reading the script to her. One day, however, Gertrude went off to run an errand, leaving her daughter alone on the film set.
When she returned, much to her dismay, she found Shirley had been crying. She was upset because the show’s director scared her. After that, Shirley’s mother decided that she would never leave her daughter alone at work again.
When Shirley Temple was 12 years old, she had another unwanted experience due to men in high places in showbiz. This time she was invited into the office of the producer of “Wizard of Oz.” Not knowing what to expect, she certainly did not expect what happened.
When she walked into his office, she found out he was an exhibitionist. Shocked to see a man with no clothes, Shirley burst out laughing uncontrollably. The producer became so enraged he repeatedly yelled at her to get out.
How Shirley Survived Child Stardom
Shirley Temple graduated from being a child star and went on to have a second career in government. Compared with almost every other child star, Temple thrived and lived a perfectly normal adult life with none of the drama or substance dependencies that we are used to hearing about.
Temple, herself, credited it to her relationship with her mother. She survived affronts from the public, such as a woman yanking on her hair to prove her curls were fake. Ouch! Temple took it in stride. Also, she had a strong disposition. Her husband Charles Black said she is stalwart in personality, nothing shook her.