Job Film actress *(1932-50) * TV actress/entertainer *(1958-65) * Public servant *(1969-92)
Years active 1932-65 (as actress) * 1967-92 (as public servant)
Top Roles Sara Crewe, Susan, Wendy Ballantine, Virgie Cary, Ching
Top GenresDrama, Comedy, Family, Musical, Romance, Short Films
Top TopicsChildren, Book-Based, Father Daughter
Top Collaborators (Producer), (Director), , (Producer)
Shares birthday with Simone Simon, Frank Borzage, Ronald Neame  see more..

Shirley Temple Overview:

Legendary actress, Shirley Temple, was born Shirley Jane Temple on Apr 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, CA. Temple died at the age of 85 on Feb 10, 2014 in Woodside, CA .

Early Life

Shirley Jane Temple was born On April 28, 1928 in Santa Monica, California. Born a golly baby, she quickly took to singing, dancing, and acting despite coming from non-show business family. Seeing her daughters potential, Temples mother enrolled her daughter for lessons at the Meglin's Dance School in Los Angeles in 1931. At this time, Temple's mother also began to craft her daughter's now legendary image by styling Shirley's hair in neat, curly ringlets modeled after America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford. It would take no time at all for Temple to be noticed by a talent scout from Educational Studios and before Temple turning the age of five, she entered a contract with Educational Pictures.

Early Career

The studio immediately cast Temple in a series of shorts called Baby Burlesks. The series satirized and spoofed Hollywood features by casting toddlers as adults and soon audiences were impressed with Temple's impressions of stars like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Taking note of the younger's natural appeal on camera, the studio again cast her a series of short two-reel films, this time in Frolics of Youth as Mary Lou Rogers, the precious young daughter of delightful suburban family. The fledgling studio also had Temple model for multiple paid endorsements in order to generate fast revenue from their biggest, little star. Temple was then loaned to Tower Productions for the 1932 film Red-Haired Alibi. The small role marked her first feature film. The studio continued to loan the toddler out to other studios for various small roles and with only two years in the business and five years on this earth, Temple had over 20 credits to her name. When Educational Pictures declared bankruptcy in 1933, she signed a contract with Fox Films Corporation.

Her first film for the new company was the 1934 ensemble picture Stand Up and Cheer. Although her role was a small one, the film featured first song-and-dance number: Baby Take a Bow. Audiences were charmed and Fox began to promote their new star heavily. She was loaned to Paramount Studios for next film, Little Miss Maker, which also proved successful. Soon, the youngster was making $1,250 a week. In 1934 Fox casted Temple in the film Baby Take a Bow. Although the film was meant to exploit her previous success with the number, Temple remained a supporting player in the film. Soon, however, that would all change.

Breakthrough Role

In 1934 Temple starred in Bright Eyes. In the film Temple plays the daughter of a maid working for a haughty, well-to-do family who proceed to foster the child after her mother dies. By the end of the film, Temple's naturally saccharine sweet disposition warms the heart of the family's grumpy patriarch, Uncle Ned.  The film was first to be crafted specifically for Temple, demonstrating her talents as an actress, a singer, and a dancer as well as allowing her to receive top-billing for the first time. The film also introduced what is now considered her signature song, The Good Ship Lollipop. Bright Eyes was a smash hit with critics and movie-going audiences a-like. Soon, Temples recording of The Good Ship Lollipop would sell over 500,000 copies and the actress would become the very symbol for wholesome, family entertainment. For her next film, 1935's The Little Colonel, she teamed with famed dance Bill Robinson and features their memorable dance down the staircase. Bill Robinson would become a staple in Temple's films. Later that year, Temple became the first to receive special "juvenile" Academy Award for her accomplishments at such a young age. Soon after, the 6 year old was award her hand/foot prints at Graumann's Chinese Theatre.


In 1935 Fox Films and Twentieth Century Pictures merged to create Twentieth Century-Fox. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck immediately put much of his energy towards developing Temple, who was easily the studios largest asset. He assigned almost 20 writers dedicated to creating films that would not only showcase her talents but also offer the depression-era audience a spark of hope and cheer in their otherwise dreary, devastated lives. Using the success of Bright Eye's as their model, the team often cast Temple as a scrappy but lovable orphan whose tenacious attitude towards life and catchy song-and-dance numbers are able to warm even the iciest of hearts. A series of massively successful films followed, including Out Little Girl and Curly Top, which features one of Temple's most beloved numbers Animal Cracker in My Soup. She once again teamed with Bill Robinson The Littlest Rebel, which, along with Curly Top, were listed as two of highest grossing film of the year and cemented Temple's status as not only the America's number one box office attraction but a full-fledge phenomenon as well.

Any and all items Shirley Temple where in exceedingly high demand. Dolls in her likeness flew off the store shelves while movie magazines plastered her face all over their full-page spreads. Even a sweet, bubbly non-alcoholic drink was named in her honor. Temple's films were seen as a much-needed escape from the harsh realities of the depression and as a much-needed symbol of hope for an audience who had little to hope for. Her popularity reached such a frenzied height that even the leader of the free world, President Roosevelt, invited the young star to his Hyde Park home for a BBQ. She would release four films in 1936, Poor Little Rich Girl, Dimples, Captain January, and Stowaway, all four successful. The next year Temple teamed with veteran director John Ford for the high-budget adventure film Wee Willie Winkie. Temple has since declared this film as personal favorite. Her only film released that year was the big screen adaption of Heidi. Both films counted themselves amongst the highest grossing films that year. At this point in her career, Temple generated more money at the box-office than any other actor in Hollywood. By the late thirties, Temple was the undisputed Queen, or perhaps more apt "little princess" at the box office. However, with her box office appeal in direct relation to her youthful adorability, her reign would soon come to an end.

Decline in Appeal

Temple released three films in 1938. The first, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, was successful with both critics and audiences. Her next release, Little Miss Broadway, while successful at the box-office, was panned by the critics. Her final release of the year, Just Around the Corner, failed to charm critics and showed a noticeable drop in ticket sales, a first for the young star. In 1939, Temple starred in a lavish, big-budget adaptation of The Little Princess, her first Technicolor effort. The film was both critically and commercially successful. Although sought after to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Zanuck refused to loan out the young star. Although her next film, Susannah of the Mounties, made money at the box office, failed to meet the studios lofty expectations. That year, Temple went from the number one to the number five box-office draw. In 1940, Temple released The Blue Bird and Young People. Both films were box-office flops and shared a similar fate with the critics. Soon after, her family bought Temple out of the remainder of her contract with Fox and enrolled her in private school.

Later Films and Retirement

In 1941, MGM signed Temple in hopes of orchestrating her comeback. However, after her film for the studio, Virginia Weidler, flopped, MGM and the Temple family dissolved the contract. After the failure of her next film, 1942's Miss Annie Rooney, Temple took a two-year hiatus from the screen to concentrate on school. Temple returned in 1944 with two home-front dramas Since You Went Away and I'll Be Seeing You, billed third and forth for the first time in over 10 years. Temple continued to act under contract of David O. Selznick for the latter half of the 1940's. She starred opposite Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in the 1947 screwball comedy The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer. The next year she again collaborated with director John Ford in Fort Apache opposite John Wayne and Henry Fonda. Despite the success of the before mentioned films, much of Temples work during this period was fairly forgettable B-picture quality films. Her final film came in 1949 with A Kiss for Corliss, her first staring role in years. Soon after, Temple announced her retirement from the movie business.

Later Life

Post-Hollywood life remained busy for Temple. She soon divorced her first husband and was remarried to Charles Black. After his discharge from the Navy, the two settled in California where Temple took time to care for her children and home. In 1958 she return to the screen, this time small, for the NBC's Shirley Temple's Storybook, featuring Temple in multiple adaption's of famous fairy tales. She continued to make guest television appearances throughout the 1960's. In 1967 Temple, an active member of the Republican Party, ran for Congress on the platform of expanding the Vietnam War. Although she lost, President Nixon would later appoint her as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations the next year.  In 1972, she took a brief hiatus from politics after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and had to undergo a radical mastectomy. In 1976 She returned to politics after being appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana by President Ford and Ambassador to Czechoslovakia in the Late 1980's and early 1990's. In 1998, Temple was rewarded the highly regarded Kennedy Center Honors. In 2006, She was awarded the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards. At 85, Temple is now retired from Public life and enjoying her golden years. 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Shirley Temple's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #26 on Mar 14, 1935. She appears on the cover of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Temple was never nominated for an Academy Award. However she won one Honorary Award in 1934 in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934 .

BlogHub Articles:

Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, and star in "I'll Be Seeing You"

By Stephen Reginald on Oct 30, 2022 From Classic Movie Man

Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, and star in "I'll Be Seeing You" I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) is an American drama film directed by William Dieterle and starring Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, and Shirley Temple. Members of the supporting cast include Spring Byington, Tom Tully, ... Read full article

Musical Monday: ’s Storybook “Babes in Toyland” (1960)

on Dec 10, 2018 From Comet Over Hollywood

It?s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals. In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals. This week?s musical: “’... Read full article

and Baby LeRoy get a taste of the Nightlife

By Emma on Apr 24, 2016 From Lets Misbehave: A Tribute to Precode Hollywood

There was nothing more studio publicity machines liked more than match-making for a bit of public attention. Even Paramount’s youngest star, Baby LeRoy, had the chance to find love with the equally famous pint-sized . Photoplay magazine in 1934 took the opportunity of documenting... Read full article

and Baby LeRoy get a taste of the Nightlife

By Emma on Apr 24, 2016 From Lets Misbehave: A Tribute to Precode Hollywood

There was nothing more studio publicity machines liked more than match-making for a bit of public attention. Even Paramount’s youngest star, Baby LeRoy, had the chance to find love with the equally famous pint-sized . Photoplay magazine in 1934 took the opportunity of documenting... Read full article


By Crystal Kalyana on Feb 9, 2015 From In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood

It’s been one year since the world mourned the loss of , the quintessential and iconic child star, with the curly top hair and cute dimpled smile, who won the hearts of millions at such a young age. Today Shirley remains the brightest and most renowned child star to ever grace th... Read full article

See all articles

Shirley Temple Quotes:

Regret: Ah, kid, don't cry. Sorrowful didn't mean anything.
Marthy Jane, Little Miss Marker: He doesn't like me.
Regret: He don't even like himself.
Marthy Jane, Little Miss Marker: I want my daddy!

Susannah Sheldon: Mr. Monty says I'm much more grown-up than you are and I should try to understand you. So, we'll smoke the pipe of peace.
Little Chief: What? Squaw smoke?
Susannah Sheldon: Well, I never have, but we're going to make a peace treaty, and you have to smoke on that, don't you?
Little Chief: Unh.
Susannah Sheldon: I guess that means yes.

Corliss Archer: Dexter, you weren't with me tonight.
Dexter Franklin: Huh?
Corliss Archer: Well, there's no point in having Daddy tear you into little pieces. You know his temper.
Dexter Franklin: What are you going to tell him?
Corliss Archer: Oh, I'll think of something. Just remember, no matter what, you weren't with me tonight.
Dexter Franklin: I can't do it. I can't let you take the rap.
Corliss Archer: Oh, I'll figure out a story.
Dexter Franklin: When?
Corliss Archer: Oh, I don't know. Give me a minute to think! Oh, my mind's an absolute blank.
Dexter Franklin: If it isn't a blank now, it will be when your old man gets through with you.
Corliss Archer: Dexter! Not when he gets through, before he starts.
Dexter Franklin: Huh?
Corliss Archer: My mind's a blank. I can't remember anything. I've got amnesia, like in the movie.
Dexter Franklin: It might work.
Corliss Archer: Oh, it's gotta work. But Dexter, you must remember, no matter what happens, no matter what I say or do, you weren't with me tonight!
Dexter Franklin: I weren't with you tonight.
Corliss Archer: Wish me luck.

read more quotes from Shirley Temple...

Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Also a Taurus

See All Tauruses >>
Special Award Oscar 1934

See more Academy Awards>>
Grauman's Imprints

Also at Grauman's

See All Imprint Ceremonies >>
Shirley Temple on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

See All Walk of Fame Stars >>
Shirley Temple Facts
At age six she became the first recipient of the juvenile academy award.

While her first daughter was delivered naturally, her son and her second daughter Lori were delivered by Cesarean.

Appears on sleeve of The Beatles's "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

See All Related Facts >>
Related Lists
Create a list

See All Related Lists >>
The Beatles Sgt Pepper Cover

Also on the Sgt Pepper Cover

See All Sgt Pepper Cover Actors >>