Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Shirley Temple!

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.” ~ Shirley Temple Black

That’s how famous this little girl was in 1934, and her fame and popularity would only grow over the next few years during the Great Depression. By 1935, she was Hollywood’s top box office draw, beating out film stalwarts Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy and Joan Crawford, and her perch on top of the Hollywood heap would continue for the following three years.

Born in California in 1928, the tiny tot signed on at 20th Century-Fox in early 1934 at the ripe old age of five. Fame and accolades soon followed, with Temple receiving a special Oscar in 1935 for her contribution to film the previous year (pictured above with fellow Oscar recipient Claudette Colbert). But as her pre-teen years approached, her popularity waned and Fox dropped her like a hot potato.

She made a comeback of sorts under contract to famed producer David O. Selznick in the mid-1940’s, appearing in the well received Since You Went Away (1944), I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) and The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947, pictured below), but a string of lukewarm showings did nothing to excite the public and Temple never retained a shred of her former glory.

Married and divorced from actor John Agar, Temple married businessman Charles Black in 1950 raised a family and eventually became a United States ambassador. Quite a ride on the Good Ship Lollipop.
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