The actress, known by the nickname ‘Goldilocks’, enjoyed worldwide popularity and at the age of 21, already a billionaire, retired from the cinema
Shirley Temple was born in Santa Monica (California) on April 23, 1928, although according to a legend, no one really knows when she was born since, when she started making movies, Fox Studios made a fake birth certificate. She was the youngest of three siblings in a typical American middle-class family. From her earliest childhood, anecdotes are told of her prodigy girl spirit. At the age of three, her mother enrolled her in a dance academy, where she was discovered by Charles Lamont, who was looking for child actors for a series of shorts from Educational Pictures.
At the age of four, he starred in his first short film, alternating these first roles with appearances in feature films in children’s roles. Short films like ‘War Babies’ (1932), ‘Kiddin Hollywood’ (1932), or ‘Kiddin Africa’ (1933), and long films like ‘Little Miss Marker’ by Alerxander Hall (1934), ‘New York Nights’, by Edwin Burke (1934), ‘Grace and sympathy’, by Harry Lechman (1934) or ‘Now and forever’ by Henry Hathaway (1934).
His popularity won both his public adulation and the approval of his colleagues. Even at the age of five, the hallmark of his performances was his professionalism: he always had his phrases memorized and his dance steps prepared when filming began. She was the first recipient of the Special Academy Award for Young Actor in 1935. Even today, Temple was the youngest performer in film history to receive this honor. She was also the youngest actress to add hand and foot prints to the exterior of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
From 1934 on, she became the first child actress in American cinema. She was the absolute protagonist of his films, and actors and actresses with such prestige as Claire Trevor, Lionel Barrymore, Joel McCrea, Robert Young, Alice Faye, Victor McLaglen, Randolph Scott or Margaret Lockwood, served as comparsas. Despite having worked with a notable director such as Henry King, John Ford, or Allan Dwan, all the films of this time responded to the same mechanism, child prodigy solving problems of their elders. Among her films of these years, ‘The Little Coronela’ (1935), ‘Rebelde’ (1935), ‘The Little Watchman’ (1936), ‘Poor Rich Girl’ (1936), ‘Heidi’ (1937), or ‘ The little princess’ (1939). Aside from the movies, there were many promotional products for Shirley Temple during the 1930s. Numerous Temple dolls, dressed in costumes from the movies, a line of girl’s dresses, and hair bows. Several songs from Temple’s films were popular hits.
In 1940, Temple left Fox. His syrupy and cloying presence was perpetuated in the cinema during his adolescence, but his aura was degrading: ‘Since you left’ (1944), ‘The bachelor and the minor’ (1947) or ‘Fort Apache’ (1948). In 1945 she had married John Agar, who at that time was a brand new aviation sergeant, whom she would make an actor by making him debut on ‘Fort Apache’. That first marriage, from which a daughter would be born, coincided with her great crisis as a star. If as a teenager she had still sneaked in, as a twenty-year-old she no longer won the favor of the public who had idolized her as a child prodigy and a bit of a creep.
When the moment of divorce came in 1949, there was also the definitive retirement of Shirley Temple from the cinema at the age of 21. Among his latest films, ‘Mr Belvedere student’ or ‘Adventure in Baltimore’. In the late 1950s she was remarrying Charles Black, a television executive and naval officer in the reserve. During the 1950s, she completely withdrew from public life, giving birth to two children and dedicating herself to charitable activities. In 1960 she agreed to star in a television program, ‘The Shirley Temple Show’, which was not very successful.
In the 1970s as a member of the San Francisco Film Festival, he got May Zetterling’s ‘Games at Night’ banned. Later he entered politics entering Congress for the Republican Party. She was the United States representative to the UN, and traveled the world as president of a federation for the prevention of arteriosclerosis, and was also her country’s ambassador to Ghana. In 2001, she served as a consultant for the ABC television production “Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story,” based on the first part of her autobiography. In 2004 he collaborated with Legend Films to restore, colorize and publish his first black and white films, as well as episodes of his 1960 television series, ‘The Shirley Temple Storybook Collection’.
The Screen Actors Guild awarded him its 2005 award. Its president, Melissa Gilbert, said at the time: “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award than Shirley Temple. His contributions to the entertainment industry are unprecedented; his contributions to the world are no less inspiring. She has lived the most extraordinary life, as the brilliant performer the world came to know when she was just a child, to the dedicated public servant who has served her country both at home and abroad for 30 years. Shirley Temple always displayed rare grace, talent and determination, not to mention compassion and courage. He was my idol when I was a child and he is still my idol today. ”
Shirley Temple passed away at her home in Woodside, California, on February 10, 2014 of natural causes.