Temple, Shirley (1928- ), American motion-picture actress, considered among the most successful child stars in the history of film. She was born Shirley Jane Temple in Santa Monica, California. Propelled by an ambitious mother, Temple made her film debut at the age of three, and at age six she was featured in Stand Up and Cheer (1934). Known for her blond ringlets and her appealing lisp, and recognized for her ability to sing and tap-dance, Temple became a celebrity in 1934, when she starred in four films: Now and Forever, Little Miss Marker, Baby Take a Bow, and Bright Eyes. At the end of that year she was given a special Academy Award "in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution." During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Temple was celebrated by an adoring public. A sophisticated performer who often seemed more mature than the adults around her, Temple had no difficulty upstaging her experienced costars, among them such veteran performers as Lionel Barrymore, Adolph Menjou, Sidney Blackmer, Alice Faye, Robert Young, Cesar Romero, Jimmy Durante, and C. Aubrey Smith. Among the films Temple made for Fox Film Corporation (her studio for all but her first two pictures) in the 1930s were The Little Colonel, Curly Top, and The Little Rebel, in 1935; Poor Little Rich Girl, Dimples, and Stowaway, in 1936; Wee Willie Winkie and Heidi, in 1937; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Little Miss Broadway, in 1938; and The Little Princess and Susannah of the Mounties, in 1939. At the height of her popularity, from 1935 to 1938, Temple was the biggest box-office attraction in Hollywood, and the large gross revenues from her films helped to make Fox a major film studio. Temple made a number of films as a teenager-among them Miss Annie Rooney (1942), I'll Be Seeing You (1944), Since You Went Away (1944), The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer (1947), and Fort Apache (1948)-but her appeal had faded, and the films were not successful. In 1949 she retired from acting.
The name "Shirley Temple" conjures up the image of a golden-hairdo moppet tap- dancing her way through a sugar-coated career. This, despite the facts that Temple herself -- Shirley Temple Black since her 1950 marriage -- endured several professional setbacks, pursued an impressive second career in politics, and, as a child, was a driven actress who despite her age, conducted herself like a studio professional.
Unlike the eerily adult kids who
populate today's films, Temple was unapologetic about being a child. Soon after came
Margaret O'Brien and Natalie Wood, both knowing and prescient. The floodgates were open
for brilliant but non-childlike performances by Tatum O'Neal, Jodie Foster and Home
Alone's sensation Macaulay Culkin. Encouraged to be wise beyond their years, mouthing
adult lines and thrust into grown-up situations, many of today's junior stars develop egos
that are allowed to grow unchecked. However, during her
six years at Fox and 20th-Century-Fox, Temple was sheltered by both her studio and parents from the harsh realities of the Depression. Indeed, she seems to have been one of the last child actresses allowed to be a child. Ironically, Temple began her career playing adult roles in a series of 1932 "Baby Burlesks," short subjects that today would be considered highly inappropriate. She played characters named "Morelegs Sweet-trick" (a pun on Marlene Dietrich) and "Mme. Cradlebait." But when Fox signed her in 1934, the studio abandoned the infant sexpot image and let her be what she really was -- an energetic, resilient, good-natured little girl. Fox needed a star. In the first years of the Depression, the studio was in serious financial
trouble. With such lighthearted charmers as The Little Colonel (1935; April 23) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938; April 23), Temple became the No. 1 box-office attraction in Hollywood between 1934 and '38, single-handedly pulling her studio out of the red. A typical early hit was Bright Eyes (1934; April 23), costarring one of her favorite leading men, James Dunn, and introducing her signature hit, "On the Good Ship Lollipop" (an airplane -- not a boat, as is usually assumed).
Like many young stars, Temple learned early to rely on herself. In her first films, she was banished to a black box if she behaved -- at age 4! -- childishly. Rather than becoming petulant and rebellious, Temple later wrote that this "lesson of life was profound and unforgettable. Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble. Time spent working is more fun than standing in an icy black box and getting an earache." Time started to catch up to Temple, who began to age before the public's eyes. She was also maturing in her approach to her career. In her own favorite film, the Kipling adaptation of Wee Willie Winkie (1937), a 9-year-old Temple worked hard to impress director John Ford. The tough-minded. veteran filmmaker won her eternal love by treating her as a grownup, brooking no girlish nonsense and brushing off her attempts at charm. This was just the thing for the coddled child star; she delighted in doing her own stunts, drilling with the troops and working harder than everyone else. When Ford finally muttered, "Nice kid, that," his gruff comment made her day. Her hardworking professionalism extended to other shoots. When a little boy wearing her dress served as a body double for the goat-butting scene in Heidi (1937; April 23), the star protested. Temple preferred to do her own stunts, arguing that the hard work made her feel like "one of the gang."
By the end of the decade, Temple was
no longer the baby of the lot. After her Fox contract ended in 1940, Temple went on to
make a handful of modest films, including Since You Went Away in 1943 and The Bachelor and
the Bobby-Soxer in 1947. However, her priority
was to act (at last!) her age. Her teen years were happy ones, she recalled. Brushing out her famous curls, Temple enrolled in Westlake School for Girls and delighted in the joys of sodas, sock hops and even schoolwork. "Westlake was my spring latch to another world,"
she said. "I could hardly wait, catch-up homework notwithstanding."
The prospect of becoming a has-been before puberty has driven many a child star to distraction and destruction. But thanks to Temple's strengths, one innate (self-discipline) and the other learned (studio-style professionalism), this star expected no less from herself on her way out than she did on her way up. In the late '40s, Temple departed gracefully from Hollywood.
Two decades later, she re-emerged into the
spotlight by announcing her candidacy for Congress. She lost the election, but Temple
displayed her trademark tenacity and went on to enjoy a long and successful career with
the United Nations and the State Department. Currently retired, she reports that she is at
peace with her life and proud of her accomplishments in two of the nation's most
"If I had to do it all over again," Shirley Temple Black recently declared, "I wouldn't change anything."
you might first think of Shirley Temple Black as the child star who danced and
way into America's hearts in the 1930's, her achievements and accomplishments in her adult life have
reached far more people globally.
As a child Shirley starred in more than forty major motion pictures and fifty major television
productions. She received an Oscar Award in 1935. Although many child actors and actresses have
difficulty moving from the entertainment industry into business or other careers, Shirley Temple Black
is a remarkable exception. She has been able to blend her quick wit and style with warmth and grace
to become one of our nations most respected diplomats.
In 1969 Mrs. Black became a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations. In the years that followed she
served as a U.S. Delegate to many International Conferences and Summits on cooperative treaties
and human environment. In 1976 she became the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States.
From this position she moved on to the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana from
1974-1976, then U.S. Chief Protocol, then an officer for the U.S. Foreign Affairs Department, and
later in 1989 to U.S. Ambassador to Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. As the first female U.S.
Chief Protocol of the United States, she was in charge of implementation of all State Department
visits, ceremonies, gifts for foreign heads of state, and liaison to all foreign embassies and consulates
located in the U.S.A. Protocol is the diplomatic procedure governed by law or international custom
and practice. The Department of State first established a Division of Protocol in 1928. All
incumbents since 1961 have held the rank of Ambassador.
Diplomatic skills and the ability to create a climate among people where they can discuss issues of
mutual concern are extremely important. Though her diplomatic skills kept her busy in the political
arena, Mrs. Black has also lent her expertise in the business sector sitting on the Corporate Board of
Directors for such major companies as Del Monte, Bancal Tri-State, Fireman's Fund Insurance, and
Walt Disney Productions.
Her professional activities currently include board and council memberships on the Institute for
International Studies at Stanford University, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Council of
American Ambassadors, and the World Affairs Council. She has also served on the boards of the
United States Commission for UNESCO, the National Committee on U.S. - China Relations, the
United Nations Association, the American-China Society, and the U.S. Citizen's Space Task
Force. She was a founding member in 1983 and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the
American Academy of Diplomacy and was Co-founder of the International Federation of Multiple
Mrs. Black received honorary doctorates from University of Santa Clara and Lehigh University, a
Fellowship from College of Notre Dame, and a Chubb Fellowship from Yale University.
Some of the skills that have been critical to her success include negotiating skills, studying
international events and problem areas, and most importantly, teamwork. A turning point in her
political career was when she served as a delegate to the United Nations, focusing her work on
diplomatic relations. Her personal contacts with both Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart gave
her drive and perseverance and Mrs. Black credits them both with being her key role models.
Although her varied career has kept her active, she still found time to raise a wonderful family, her
greatest accomplishment and joy. She has three children and one granddaughter and currently lives in
Woodside, California with her husband Charles Black. She truly enjoys being a wife, mother, and
grandmother. Her hobbies include golf, gardening, fishing and cooking.
The ex-actress left breast-cancer articles around the house because "I couldn't bring myself to talk about it to my husband."
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1998
From child star to diplomat
Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Shirley Temple Black was in the kitchen of her home, 40 minutes south of San Francisco. Mrs. Black, known to millions in the 1930s and '40s as the child star with the golden curls who sang and danced her way into the hearts of America, stopped baking to answer the doorbell.
She signed for a package. "I saw the name Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., and wondered if they wanted me to introduce someone," she says.
Not exactly. It brought the news she was one of six people selected to receive a medal at the Kennedy Center Honors for a lifetime of achievement and service to the United States and the world. The other honorees are conductor-composer Andre Previn, comedian Bill Cosby, Broadway composer and lyricist team John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Chicago," "Cabaret"), and singer-songwriter Willie Nelson.
Two hours later when her husband, Charles Black, came home she was still smiling. "When he saw that grin," she says, "he knew something was up." The event, hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton, took place Dec. 6. "Kennedy Center Honors" will air Wed., Dec. 30, on CBS television from 9-11 p.m.
Sitting in her Spanish-style home, she is surrounded by mementos from her Hollywood and Washington, D.C., careers. Black spent 27 years working for the State Department in the US and overseas. But though she has been in the diplomatic corps longer than in films, it's those movies that people remember.
In 1968, President Nixon appointed her a US delegate to the United Nations. Later she became the first woman to be head of protocol in the White House under President Gerald Ford. More recently, she joined former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance on a trip to China aimed at improving relations. The first thing they saw on TV in Beijing was her 1947 movie, "The Bachelor and The Bobby-Soxer" with Cary Grant.
She realizes her popularity opens doors. People feel they already know her. "I look upon [my movie career] with great fondness and pride," she says. "It involved a lot of hard work, but I've never been afraid of that."
Less known to the public are the eight years Black spent at the State Department teaching first-time ambassadors and their spouses. "At first, they didn't seem to take [me] seriously," she recalls. But when she began advising them on what to do if they were taken hostage, or the embassy was bombed, or how to handle terrorist threats, they soon forgot about movies and got down to business.
On the piano in the Black's home stand the Oscar she received in 1934, an Emmy, and pictures of her three children, Susan, Charles Jr., and Lori. In one corner is a throne from her 1974 inauguration ceremony as ambassador to Ghana. On the large coffee table is a silver tray etched with the names of the embassy staff when she was ambassador to Czechoslovakia. "President Bush appointed me in 1989, and the next year the Velvet Revolution began. By the end of my term , it was the Czech Republic."
Although Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Bush appointed her to duties, the one president she knew personally, Ronald Reagan, never did. "When I was 20, I was playing a teenager, and he a teacher in a Warner movie, 'That Hagen Girl.' "
|My mother-in-law had an
expression: 'The happiest moment is now.' I've learned to live by that.
- Shirley Temple Black
Another costar, dancing partner George Murphy, became a US senator. She tried her hand in politics too. "I ran for Congress, just once," she says. "It was to fill out an unexpired term in the House of Representatives. There were 14 candidates. I came in second. Not bad," she added with that trademark dimpled grin. "My late mother-in-law had a favorite expression: 'The happiest moment is now.' I've learned to live by that."
Currently, she is writing her second book. Her first, "Child Star," published in 1988, was well received.
Her husband, an oceanographer, has partnered with Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic, on expeditions. These trips have taken the Blacks around the world. "I should have known our lives would always be connected with the ocean," she says, smiling. "Charlie was a young Naval officer when we met in Hawaii. He proposed a few weeks later. It was love at first sight for me...."
Today, at least once a month, she drives 10 minutes to Stanford University, where she and former Secretary of State George Schultz are members of the Institute of International Studies. Foreign ministers from around the world meet with the organization to discuss global problems and solutions.
What was she thinking when sitting in the presidential box at the Kennedy Center? "I remember my mother. When I was a little girl, she'd say, 'Sparkle, Shirl.' "
SHIRLEY TEMPLE BLACK
UNITED STATES DELEGATE
In 1969, Shirley Temple Black was
appointed by President Richard M. Nixon
as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations for the international organization's twenty-fourth General Assembly. Shirley was not the first entertainer to have been appointed as a delegate. Marian Anderson, Irene Dunne, and Myrna Loy had preceded her.
Shirley arrived in New York in September, 1969 to take her seat at the U.N. as the only woman on the five-person American delegation. She was greeted with snickers, disbelief, and some resentment and derision.
Shirley was forty-one when she was at the U.N. She was paid $38,000 per year.This payment was only for the three months of the General Assembly session.
A typical day for U.N. delegate Shirley Temple Black started at 6:30 a.m. Among Shirley's committee assigments were refugees, social progress, the aging, and the peaceful uses of outer space. Her "two favorites" were the committee on youth and the environment.
When her term was up, just before Christmas, 1969, Shirley stated that she was frustrated because of all the work that had not gotten done. She said "The term should be two years."
Shirley had made a special effort to get to know the representatives of the developing nations of the unaligned Third World, and she was especially popular with them.
Even though Shirley was not reappointed at the end of her term, she remained a strong believer in the organization.
"We would have to invent the U.N. if we did not have it, which is not an original thought," she said. "The U.N. acts as the world's conscience, and over eighty-five percent of the work that is done by the United Nations is in the social, economic, educational and cultural fields. That doesn't make headlines like the Security Council does when someone is fighting. These good works are done by U.N. people around the world, but most of the funds and most of the energy are voluntarily contributed."
AMBASSADOR TO GHANA
On August 20, 1974, Shirley Temple
appointed by President Gerald Ford as the United Nations Ambassador to
In the summer of 1974, there were
Washington D.C., and New York that Shirley
Temple Black was about to be appointed by President Nixon as an ambassador to a diplomatic post in Africa.
In August of 1974 Nixon was forced to resign the presidency, and with Gerald Ford reapproving her appointment, her ambassadorship to Ghana became official.
Four days after her
arrival in Ghana, Shirley presented her credentials to the Ghanaian head of
state, Colonel Ignatius Acheampong.
"It was probably the most thrilling moment of my life," she later said. Standing alone in a little canopied setting with the Ghanaian Air Force band playing "The Star Spangled Banner" was almost too much. I was covered in gooseflesh. Then the talking drums of welcome really covered me with gooseflesh: the talking drums go all the way to the pit of your stomach. To me it was like the pages of "The National Geographic" magazine come to life."
She stated that "there are no major problems in U.S.-Ghana relations and the feelings are good." However, there were some problems in Ghana with which she was concerned. One was the country's unsucessful quest for its own oil in view of world oil prices, worldwide inflation, and debts left over from the regime of Kwame Nkrumah. It was hopeful that the government's "operation feed yourself" program would be successful and would bring about less dependence on imports. Shirley said.."My job is to stimulate American action here, and to look after the interest of my country in trade and diplomacy in Ghana. I'd like to see more done in terms of health assistance, particularly maternal child care, and in trying to encourage U.S. business interests to get involved."
"I work a seventeen hour day, and I'm personally responsible for 108 staff members in the embassy," she said. "if anything goes wrong, I'm to blame. And if there are sudden developments, I'd have to make split-second decisions and they'd have to be the right ones. It's a tremendous work load but I have no regrets. I've not been bored for an instant. My biggest problem is that I rise at 6:00 a.m. and work steadily all day. At night there is almost always an official function that I must attend. And in Ghana everyone eats late; dinner seldom starts before 9:00 p.m. I get very little sleep, but I still feel so robust I sometimes wear everybody else out."
During the length of time that Shirley was ambassador to Ghana, the government of Ghana was stable, and the country's relationship with the United States was secure. Shirley made sure that American government assistnce programs to Ghana ran on a smooth basis. Shirley was especially interested in the provision of anti-measles vaccines and other health aids.
THE RUNT PAGE (1932)
WAR BABIES (1932)
THE PIE COVERED WAGON (1932)
GLAD RAGS TO RICHES (1932)
THE KID'S LAST FIGHT (1932)
KID IN HOLLYWOOD (1932)
POLLYTIX IN WASHINGTON(1932)
KID IN AFRICA (1932)
MERRILY YOURS (1933)
DORA'S DUNKING DOUGHNUTS (1933)
PARDON MY PUPS (1933)
MANAGED MONEY (1933)
WHAT TO DO? (1933)
THE RED-HAIRED ALIBI (1933)
OUT ALL NIGHT (1933)
TO THE LAST MAN (1933)
AS THE EARTH TURNS (1933)
NEW DEAL RHYTHM (1933)
STAND UP AND CHEER (1934)
NOW I'LL TELL (1934)
CHANGE OF HEART (1934)
LITTLE MISS MARKER (1934)
BABY TAKE A BOW (1934)
NOW AND FOREVER (1934)
BRIGHT EYES (1934)
THE LITTLE COLONEL (1934)
OUR LITTLE GIRL (1935)
CURLY TOP (1935)
THE LITTLEST REBEL (1935)
CAPTAIN JANUARY (1936)
POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL (1936)
WEE WILLIE WINKIE (1937)
REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM (1938)
LITTLE MISS BROADWAY (1938)
JUST AROUND THE CORNER (1939)
THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1939)
SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES (1939)
THE BLUE BIRD (1939)
YOUNG PEOPLE (1940)
MISS ANNIE ROONEY(1942)
SINCE YOU WENT AWAY (1943)
BE SEEING YOU (1944)
KISS AND TELL (1945)
THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY SOXER (1947)
THAT HAGEN GIRL (1947)
FORT APACHE (1947)
ADVENTURE IN BALTIMORE (1948)
MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE (1948)
THE STORY OF SEABISCUIT (1949)
A KISS FOR CORLISS (1949