Shirley Temple Black, Famous Child Star of 1930s, Dies at 85

Shirley temple
One of the famous child star of the 1930s Great Depression-era Hollywood cinema, with her moon face, sparkling dimples and curly hair, has died.  Shirley Temple Black died at 85 on February 10, in California.  Temple’s smile, her dazzling performances, foot tapping dances, singing and her charm in the movies enthralled hearts of film-goers in the Great Depression era.  From 1935 to 1939, Temple was the biggest draw at the box office.  The starlet’s roles spread smiles on the faces of Americans suffering from the Depression.  If there were soup lines in the 1930s, there were lines waiting to see Temple on screen.  She was an iconic burlesque child of the 1930 Hollywood and has left a remarkable body of work.

Born to Gertrude Temple and George Temple on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California, Temple began her career at the age of three and went on to become the biggest iconic child star of Hollywood.  Temple worked with Bill Robinson, notorious tap-dancer, in three movies, first, The Littlest Rebel, second, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and third, Just Around the Corner.  The studio employed her before she was five years old and she became their massive draw at the cinema during the late 30s.  20th Century Fox signed a contract with the starlet’s mother to make movies.  Temple’s first hit came at age 5, with 20th Century Fox, the movie was Stand Up & Cheer.  It spell-bounded the audience with starlet’s magical performances, and she then acted in number of hits.

Shirley was very famous and appeared on the cover of numerous magazines during the ’30s.  Everyone talked about her, merchandise was sold with her name on it, dolls with her likeness were made, a non-alcoholic beverage is named after her, and even President Franklin D. Roosevelt was impressed by her.  Temple was coached by her mother, and she was taught singing, mimicking and dancing at the very young age.  Her mother said to her before any shoot “sparkle Shirley sparkle” and she illuminated her work and her magic stole the show.  In 1935, she won the first Juvenile Academy Award.  She was the highest paid star in 1937.  Temple was known as the burlesque iconic child of the movies in 30s, most of her movies were comedy, musicals, and dramas.

As Temple grew older, at the turn of decade, her fame became to decline.  As she grew from a child to a teenager, her stardom lost its glitter.  The money she earned, her parents spent every penny of it.  Studios gave up on her, and she lost her contracts.  Shirley was unaware of her stardom and massive global fame, however, it faded as she matured.  She later enrolled at Westlake School of Girls in Los Angeles, in seventh standard.  According to her, she had a busy childhood, and she began to enjoy different phases of her life later on.  The work she did as a teenager and adult was unsuccessful because stars like Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor and Natalie Wood were rising to fame and it was them who now began to steal the show.  Temple’s stardom was eclipsed by the new stars with time.

At the turn of adulthood Temple was married and then divorced.  Temple had one daughter from John Agar, and then later on in trip to Hawaii, she met her second husband, who never was aware of her fame.  Temple married the businessman Charles Alden Black in 1950, and had two children.  Her marriage lasted until his death in 2005.  Shirley Temple Black then went on to continue her public work as diplomat.  She was a member of the US delegation at the UN and US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She ran for Congress in 1967 and in 1974 she served as the US ambassador to Ghana.  She had won Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, in 1998 she received Kennedy Center Honors, and Academy Award as a child in 1935.

Temple was famous and known as the Burlesque Baby. Her legendary work and cinematic stardom will always be remembered.  She died at the age of 85 because of natural causes on Monday, February 10, in her San Francisco residence.  Her family was near her when she took her last breath.  Shirley Temple Black is survived by her children, grandchildren and great-grand children.

By Iqra Amjad



LA Times

USA Today

You must be logged in to post a comment Login