Shirley Temple was and is America's Sweetheart. She was a child actress of the 1930s. She is arguably one of the most famous child actors in the world. Her movies are timeless.
As a child I watched Shirley Temple films. They came on TV often on the weekends about 1:00 in the afternoon. I used to sit in front of the TV and just become mesmerized by her presence and superior dance skills. 10 minutes into the movie I would be trying to mimic her dance steps and sing all the songs. She was truly infectious.
Shirley Temple was born in 1928. She became an actress at age 3, but her popularity took off at age 10. She was a household name after her first film War Babies in 1932. After this film her career took off. Shirley Temple was making an unprecedented $50,000 a film! During this time it was unheard of and absolutely a tell tell of her high demand. From 1935 to 1938, 20th Century Fox and Shirley Temple dominated. Her movies were some of the top movies in the country. For four years straight Shirley Temple was a box office gold mine. Everything from Curly Top to the Littlest Rebel peaked at #1 in the box office. During Great Depression Shirley Temple's movies created hope in a time where people saw no end to the suffering.
Shirley Temple's fame was so popular little girls were wearing her signature curls for decades. From the 1930s to the 1970s Shirley Temple was the "It Girl". Her name sold countless merchandise items: dresses, shoes, hats, dolls, etc. But her acting career slowed down tremendously after 1939. She ended up terminating her contract with 20th Century Fox in 1940. She continued to act but eventually retired at the age of 22. She got married to Charles Black, changed her last name to Temple Black and started a new career as a foreign diplomat. She served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974. She was the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana from 74 to 78 and she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 89 to 92.
In 1958 she made a small comeback on her own tv show called Shirley Temple's Storybook. It lasted for 3 years. It was even nominated for an Emmy the category of Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children's Programming. She has received other awards as well. Early on her in career she received the Academy Juvenile Award for her work in Curly Top and Heidi. She also was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors and received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She printed her hands and feet at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for all her work.
Former President George H.W. Bush (who appointed her to the Czechoslovakia post) responded to the passing of the American Icon:
"Barbara and I mourn the loss of an American icon." "She captured the affections of millions around the world by her endearing performances on the silver screen as a young girl, but I also admired Shirley for her selfless service to our country later in her life,"Temple Black's family members released a statement saying:
"In both roles, she truly lifted people up and earned not only a place in our hearts but also our enduring respect.
"We send our condolences to Shirley's family and countless fans around the world."
"Salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife of fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black."
Rest in Peace Mrs. Shirley Temple Black. You've brought smiles to many young girls faces over the years. Thank you for your commitment, dedication, and sacrifice. You will be missed!