Shirley Temple Black Dies At 85

 

 

Shirley Temple 1928-2014

 

America has lost another of our greatest entertainers in Shirley Temple Black, who died Monday night, February 11, in her home near San Francisco at the age of 85. She was preceded in death by her husband Charles Alden Black, who died in 2005. They had been married 55 years at the time of his death.

It has been said that Shirley Temple was the most famous child actor in the history of the movies. Very few would want to argue that point.

She was born Shirley Jane Temple, on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California.

A young Shirley Temple early in her career.

Her first two appearances on-screen was in two shorts in 1932 and her first credited role in a movie was for Red Haired Alibi released in 1932. She appeared in several more shorts and uncredited roles in movies and her scenes in Mandalay in 1934 were deleted. However, before the end of 1934 she would appear in seven more movies in credited roles. Little Miss Marker and Bright Eyes were just two of those movies released in 1934.

Temple was also heard on old-time radio in 42 programs.

1935 would see four more Shirley Temple movies released including The Little Colonel and Curly Top. She had appeared in 20 movies by the time she was 7 years old.

By the time 1940 was over Temple had appeared in 34 movies and she was only 12 years old. She then started appearing as a teenager in movies later in the 40’s, including Kiss and Tell and  Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.

Shirley Temple seen in a scene with Cary Grant from Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.

Surprisingly she made her last movie in 1949 at the age of 21, when she appeared in a Kiss For Corliss Archer.

Nine years would pass before she would appear in her own television series Shirley Temple Storybook from 1958-1961. She would make her second and last television appearance on Red Skelton Show in 1963.

By the time of her death last night she hadn’t made a movie in 65 years and hadn’t appeared on television in 51 years.

 

IMDB.com lists some interesting trivia about Shirley Temple:

She was 5 foot 2.

1935-1938 were the years of her peak popularity. She was box office champion during those years, topping more famous adult actors and actresses like Clark Gable and Joan Crawford.

By 1939 her popularity had declined.

She married actor John Agar at the age of 17 and the marriage lasted from 1945-1950. They were divorced on December 7, 1950.

Shirley Temple Black shown with her husband Charles Alden Black.

Nine days later she would marry Charles Alden Black, to whom she remained married to, for 55 years until his death in 2005 from bone marrow disease at the age of 86.

Ironically her new husband had never seen any of her movies.

She may have been Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, but 20th Century Fox refused to lend her to MGM to make the movie.

Shirley Jones and Shirley MacLaine were both named after Shirley Temple.

Would serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.

Was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Her new contract from 20th Century Fox in 1936 paid her $50,000 per film.

A cocktail named after her became known as the Shirley Temple cocktail. It consisted of Ginger Ale or 7-Up, Grenadine and orange juice topped with a Maraschino cherry and a slice of lemon. Temple said she didn’t like the drink.

Gary Cooper asked for Shirley Temple’s autograph, when he met her in 1934.

She made an attempt at political office: In 1967 she ran against Paul McCloskey in the Republican primary for California’s 11th Congressional District. McCloskey won with 52,878 votes to her 34,521. One of the newspaper headlines read: “McCloskey Torpedoes Good Ship Lollypop”.

Some of her other political appointment jobs:

U.S. Chief of Protocol

      U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
      Delegate to the United Nations
She acted in the movies while the country was in a depression and has this to say about that:
I class myself with Rin Tin Tin. People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog and a little girl.
Shirley Temple brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people during her 17 year movie career and she went on to serve our country as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia and as a delegate to the United Nations.
Her acting career may have ended over 50 years ago, but her movies will live on in the hearts, of those who have seen them and will continue to see them, as they are handed down from generation to generation.
I suspect a lot of DVD and VCR players will be playing Shirley Temple movies today and tonight, as we remember the little girl in the movies, who cheered up a country deep in depression so many years ago.
RIP Shirley Temple

For those who want to see a list of all the Shirley Temple movies:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000073/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

 

 

 

 

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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