Shirley Temple is best-known for her roles in films such as The Little Princess and Heidi. She started acting and singing at the tender young age of three. She may very well have been considered the first “triple threat,” bringing her acting, singing, and dancing talents to the forefront, landing her first gigs when she was five.
Widely recognized for her golden curls and her bubbly personality, Shirley Temple was nothing short of a superstar, paving the way for other child performers for years to come.
Temple Absolutely Loved Food
Temple wasn’t shy when it came to trying new things, especially when it came to food. The actress would absolutely be considered a “foodie” in today’s day and age — it was no secret that she loved to eat.
There is one particular “joke” that Temple would often share that made everyone realize just how much she appreciated a good meal. Because she was born at night, she would always say that she “started life one meal behind,” because she was “too late for dinner.” “Ever since, I have tried to make up for that loss,” she once said, according to her official website.
Temple Married Actor John Agar In 1945
Shirley Temple fell in love with actor John Agar and married him in 1945. The two exchanged vows at the Wilshire Memorial Church in Los Angeles. Previously a member of the United States Air Force, Agar got into acting after meeting Temple, his second wife.
His debut film was John Ford’s Fort Apache in 1948. Agar starred alongside John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and, of course, Shirley Temple. Temple filed for divorce from him in 1949. Agar, who suffered from emphysema, passed away on April 7, 2002.
Fun Fact: Agar was the victim of a death hoax back in 1972 thanks to the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.
Temple Was Married To ‘Soul Mate’ Charles Black For 55 Years
People who knew Temple personally would tell you that she was a hopeless romantic — she simply loved being in love. That’s probably not too surprising knowing her personality. She married her second husband, Charles Black, in 1950. The couple met in Hawaii while Temple was on a trip with her family.
Temple and Black, a formal naval officer, were very much in love and remained so for 55 years. When Black passed away on August 4, 2005, Temple was devastated. At the time, she refused to delete his voicemails, saving them as a way to hear his voice again and again.
Her Perfect Curls Took More Effort Than You Know
Temple won the hearts of millions and her hair full of curls made her one of the most recognizable stars ever. But it wasn’t like she fell out of bed with a perfect head of hair each morning.
Temple’s mother would spend quite a bit of time putting Temple’s hair in pin curls for each and every movie that she did. And there’s even more of a science to it than that! Each hairstyle had exactly 56 curls — and each one was near perfect. Temple’s hair was a trend in and of itself. Girls were simply obsessed with curling their hair just like Temple’s from the 1930s through the 1970s!
She Once Pulled A Prank On First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Temple wasn’t a troublemaker by any stretch, but one small prank got her in quite a bit of trouble! Temple was at a barbeque at Eleanor Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park, New York, back in 1935 when it happened.
A then-10-year-old Temple was playing with a slingshot, practicing some tricks that she learned after filming The Littlest Rebel. Temple ended up hitting Mrs. Roosevelt in the tush with a pebble! She recalled getting a good spanking from her mom after that incident. “I’m still a good shot,” Temple told People Magazine several years later.
She Wasn’t Too Good With Money
Temple made millions of dollars throughout her career — and back in the day, even one million was a lot of money. However, Temple wasn’t great at keeping things in order and she ended up losing quite a bit of her earnings due to bad business deals.
By the time she was in her early twenties, Temple had just over $40,000 to her name. It has been estimated that she earned some $3 million during her years working as a child star. Even still, Temple was able to recover just fine. She had an estimated net worth of $30 million at the time of her death.
Temple Almost Landed The Role Of Dorothy In ‘The Wizard Of Oz’
The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved films of all time. And while most people can’t imagine what the movie would have been like without the talent of Judy Garland, Shirley Temple was actually in talks to land the role of Dorothy.
Temple met with producer Arthur Freed before the cast was confirmed. There are a few different explanations out there, but the most believable is that there was a conflict between movie houses. Reports suggest that 20th Century Fox refused to lend Temple to MGM to get the movie done so, ultimately, Temple was forced to give up the role.
She Stopped Believing In Santa Claus When She Was Six
Parents tend to have a pretty hard time keeping the ‘ole Santa Claus secret going, and with social media and other technology, it’s even more difficult to convince children that Santa is real these days. Sadly, the surprise was ruined for Temple when she was just six years old.
At the time, Temple was with her mom at a department store. Like every child, Temple wanted to get her photo taken with Santa and she wanted to tell him what was on her Christmas list. That particular Santa was completely starstruck by Temple and couldn’t help but ask for her autograph.
Her Career Took Off In The 1930s
Everything (career-wise) happened relatively fast for Shirley Temple. She starred in “Baby Burlesks” short-subject series, “War Babies” in 1932 and landed her first major role just two years later. Carolina was released in 1934, the same year that Temple inked a seven-year deal with Twentieth Century-Fox.
The amazingness of the year 1934 didn’t end there. Temple was honored with a miniature Oscar at the annual Academy Awards ceremony. And her success only went up from there. From 1935 through 1938, Shirley Temple was the “number one box-office draw in America and Britain,” according to CNN.
She Was The United States Representative To The United Nations
Shirley Temple was an American through and through. She even had a career in politics! President Richard Nixon named Shirley Temple the United States Representative to the United Nations. Years later, President Gerald Ford named her the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. When Ronald Reagan became president, Temple served in the State Department. And when George H.W. Bush was Commander in Chief, Temple held the post of Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
In 1967, Temple decided to run for office. She ran as a Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in California. Unfortunately, she lost to Congressman Pete McCloskey by approximately 19,000 votes.
She Really Does Have A Drink Named After Her
We’re willing to bet that you’ve at least heard of the drink the Shirley Temple, if you haven’t actually tried one. The non-alcoholic beverage is made by mixing grenadine and lemon-lime soda and is topped off with a maraschino cherry (or two, if you’re lucky).
The drink was actually created by bartenders at the Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki, a favorite vacation destination of Temple’s. Interestingly enough, famous Hollywood eatery the Brown Derby restaurant also lays claim to the concoction. Either way, the drink is one that has been enjoyed by countless diners of all ages.
She’s Best-Known For One Very Catchy Song
Shirley Temple sang “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in the 1934 movie Bright Eyes. To this day, it is the very song that people associate with the child star. The tune is often referred to as Temple’s “signature song.” The song was composed by Richard A. Whiting and the lyrics were written by Sidney Clare. It was so popular, in fact, that over 400,000 versions of the sheet music were sold over the years.
Another fond memory of Shirley Temple’s career would be her tap dancing number with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in The Little Colonel, released in 1935.
Temple Battled Breast Cancer — And Won
In 1972, Temple was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors found a malignant tumor in her left breast and Temple underwent a mastectomy as part of her treatment.
At the time, discussing such personal medical issues wasn’t common, but Temple spoke out to the world and became an advocate for women’s health in her own right.
“My doctors have assured me that they are 100 percent certain the cancer is removed. The only reason I am telling you this is to convince other women to watch for any lump or unusual symptom. There is an almost certain cure for this cancer if it is caught early enough,” Temple said at the time.
Temple Was Praised By The Journal For Women’s Health In 2012
As mentioned in the previous slide, not many famous actors spoke out about ailments and personal issues in the 1970s. However, Temple’s decision to be open and honest about her diagnosis and treatment helped pave the way for women’s health organizations and other forums in which women are encouraged to be candid about their illnesses.
In 2012, The Journal For Women’s Health shared a piece on Temple, calling her the “first public figure to come forward and write about breast cancer.” Temple was also applauded for standing up for women’s rights. In her writing, she said that her doctor can “make the incision” but that a woman should “make the decision.”
Her Name Was Popular, Too
Just about everyone loved Shirley Temple for her big smile, adorable face, incredible talent, and all around charm. And while just about everyone was obsessed with her chubby cheeks and her perfect curls, others really loved her name. In fact, actresses Shirley Jones and Shirley MacLaine were both named after the child star.
The name “Shirley” is less popular in the 21st century, but it was the second most popular girl’s name in 1935 and 1936. The name remained popular through the 1940s, consistently popping up on “top 10 girl’s names” lists.
Shirley you can guess why that was the case!
She Retired From Show Business In 1950
Shirley Temple decided to hang up her dancin’ shoes (so to speak) in 1950. She wanted to focus on being a homemaker, raising three children and taking care of her husband. Temple welcomed a daughter named Linda with her first husband, John Agar. She had two more children, a daughter named Lori, and a son named Charles, with her second husband, Charles Black.
Linda became a librarian while Temple’s two children with Black followed in their mother’s footsteps; Lori is a musician and Charles Jr. became an actor, though he only has one credit to his name. He also reportedly works as a real estate agent and is thought to be a very successful businessman.
Temple Received Many Kisses Over The Years
With such an impossibly sweet face, it’s no surprise that people couldn’t resist planting wet ones all over the actress! It’s not something that most people would be able to get used to, but Temple had a great sense of humor about it. She often joked about the times that people tried to kiss her.
“You can see a glint in the eye and you know a big sloppy one is coming,” Temple previously told People Magazine. “Men say, ‘I’ve loved you since I was seven years old,’ and I say, ‘Well, you never contacted me,'” Temple added.
Temple Loved That Kids Enjoyed Her Movies For Years To Come
While many kids today don’t know who Shirley Temple is, she definitely made an impression that lasted generations. Many people who grew up watching Temple shared those films with their children and so on. That is something that Temple really loved hearing– that families were brought together by her work year after year.
“I’m delighted that kids are seeing the old films and sharing them with their parents and grandparents. I’m glad they’re so popular, too,” Temple told the Washington Post back in 1995. In 2016, film historian Leonard Maltin told People magazine that kids who watch Temple’s movies still “respond just as strongly.”
She Was A Great Saleswoman
Although her heart was in entertaining the masses, Temple had another hidden talent; she was quite the sales lady! On her website, she recalled selling pies when she was a kid. Unsurprisingly, she was really good at it.
“It was so intense that the studio got the prop department to make a little pie wagon and they filled it with tarts. I wheeled it around the set and sold them to the crew. I was about eight years old. I always sold out, and I didn’t have to pay for them. It was a great deal,” Temple said.
Who could resist a pie from such an adorable face?
Temple Passed Away In 2014
Temple lived a long life full of success, challenges, love, and adoration. She passed away at her home in Woodside, California, on February 10, 2014, at the age of 85. She died of natural causes and wasn’t believed to be sick or suffering when she passed away.
At the time, thousands of people flocked to social media to share their fondest memories of Temple, whether they knew her personally or not. It was clear that she had touched the lives of so many just by being herself, having a great sense of humor, and being an overall wonderful person.