Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Shirley Temple

Temple, Shirley (1928- ), American motion-picture actor, considered among the most successful child stars in the history of film. She was born Shirley Jane Temple Black 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 Littlest 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. From 1957 to 1959 Temple narrated the television series "Shirley Temple's Storybook." In 1967 she ran, unsuccessfully, as a Republican candidate for the Congress of the United States. Temple was a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations (1969-1970), was U.S. ambassador to Ghana (1974-1976), and became the first woman in U.S. history to serve as chief of protocol (1976-1977), during the administration of President Gerald R. Ford. In 1989 President George Bush appointed her ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Her autobiography, Child Star, was published in 1988.

"Temple, Shirley" Microsoft(R) Encarta.
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