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HomeEntertainmentThe Tumultuous Real-Life Story of the Late Child Star Shirley Temple

The Tumultuous Real-Life Story of the Late Child Star Shirley Temple

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The Shirley Temple drink is the most famous mocktail from the 20th century. It was inspired by former child star, Shirley Temple, who plunged into the spotlight in grand style. However, away from the glitz and glamor, Temple’s personal life was rocky. 

Shirley Temple was one of the most famous actresses of classic Hollywood despite just being a “little human” living out her childhood years in stardom. Temple was, in fact, the most famous actress in America at a point.

At the pinnacle of her childhood acting success, the Shirley Temple drink was named after her. This was a cocktail for children, and adults also indulged in it. While Temple lived her lovely showbiz life right before fans’ eyes, there was the hidden part of her personal life that was filled with dark moments. 

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Shirley Temple drink
Shirley Temple. Image: Pinterest

Shirley Temple’s Childhood Fame

Temple was born a California native in 1928 to a banker and a stay-at-home mom. One year after her birth, the great depression began. At three, she was enrolled in a dancing school.

In 1932, an entertainment agent discovered the talented Temple while she was still a child. She was cast in a series of short films titled “Baby Burlesks,” and her career took off from there.

The little Temple appeared in another movie, “Stand Up And Cheer,” and this further spread her fame among movie lovers. Shirley Temple’s movies also included “Bright Eyes, from which she got famous for her song, “On The Good Ship Lollipop,” “Little Miss Marker,” and “The Little Colonel.”

Shirley Temple’s bubbly nature displayed on TV was much needed amid the great depression. And the butterfly effect was that she topped the box-office draw and became the most famous actor of that period. 

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And so it became that Temple and the Shirley Temple drink won millions of hearts. Temple will go on to take many pictures with President Franklin Roosevelt, who once famously proclaimed:

“As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be alright.”

Shirley Temple drink
Image: Pinterest

The Dark Side Of Shirley Temple’s Fame

Right from the start, Temple’s mom, Gertrude, projected her choices on her. It was said that Gertrude wanted to be a dancer, but she could not, so she decided to enroll little Shirley in a dancing school.

After Temple’s acting talents were cited, Gertrude became pushy, making her daughter take roles and even forging her age at some point so Temple could fit in.

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However, Temple herself has shared that her parents “bathed” her with love. She noted that her mom was not pushy, and she had loved being an actress. 

It was also reported that Temple was made to take adult roles designated for children. She would later write of that experience in her biography: “Cynical Exploitation of Our Childish Innocence that Occasionally Were Racist or Sexist.” 

Temple’s Life In Her Adult Years

Temple’s Hollywood fame began dwindling soon as she hit puberty. She was changing physically, and her talents as a child star were becoming outdated. She suddenly went from appearing in over forty movies to barely getting roles.

Temple was a few days shy of turning 17 when she agreed to marry a 24-year-old Army Air Corps Sergeant, John Agar. She and Agar were together from 1940 to 1945, and according to the late star, she was “way too young.”

She later married Charles Alden Black, who was a California Businessman. During this marriage, Temple was more mature, and the relationship was loving. She was married to him from 1950 until the time of his death in 2005. 

As opposed to how Temple initially described her parents’ approach to her fame, she later shared that her father mismanaged the wealth she acquired. She recalled to the late Larry King:

“It was fine until I was 22 and I asked my dad and his business partner. I said, ‘You know, I was 21 and I didn’t get the money. I’m 22, where’s the money?”

The star specifically stated that her father and his business partner held a two-hour meeting with her, giving an outline of all of her money and the spending. In the end, Temple was told she had $44,000 left out of a $3,400,000 net worth. 

Shirley Temple drink
Image: Pinterest

Temple’s Career As An Adult

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Temple, who had two children with her second husband, returned briefly to the entertainment business and hosted a TV show.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon named her a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. In 1972, Temple underwent treatment for breast cancer and became one of the first well-known women to speak out about the disease.

From 1974 to 1976, she was President Gerald Ford’s ambassador to Ghana and won praises for her work. She went on to serve as Ford’s chief of protocol from 1976 to 1977. 

Under President George H.W. Bush, Temple was appointed the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989. Shirley Temple passed on in February 2014 at her home in Woodside, California. She was 85 years old. 

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