Little Miss Fix-It: Shirley Temple’s Remarkable Life

Shirley Temple, a fascinating blast of stardust, made her global debut on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California. She wasn’t your typical kid star; she was destined to become a remarkable phenomenon. Imagine a young youngster full of excitement and charisma, enchanting everyone with her adorable presence. Shirley fearlessly embraced her entrance in the spotlight with amusing short films that playfully defied conventional boundaries, allowing youngsters to shine as adults.Then, in a flurry of excitement, came 1934. Shirley Temple’s amazing dance skills captured viewers that year, leaving an indelible mark on both hearts and history.

Shirley Temple filmography - Wikipedia

From enthralling musicals to endearing family comedies, each part is a step closer to success. However, it was a single film that radically changed the situation, saving a film company from certain failure. She was beloved by people all throughout the world, especially the entertainment business.Temple had a tested IQ of 155 and was an incredibly quick learner. “Tap dancer Bill Robinson taught her a soft-shoe number, waltz clog, and three tap routines.” “She learned them without looking at him, by listening to his feet,” Time magazine remarked on its cover in 1936.

With the exception of Gertrude, Shirley was virtually fearful of grownups (referring to studio president Darryl Zanuck as “Uncle Pipsqueak”) and eager to correct them. Frequent costar Robert Young told Edwards about an incident on the set of the 1934 picture Carolina, when Temple dared to cue the great actor Lionel Barrymore: Adults put a heavy load on Temple’s little shoulders. Her box office success was credited with saving Fox from bankruptcy during the Depression, and it also fueled the company’s 1935 merger with Twentieth Century Pictures.

Shirley Temple — The Movie Database (TMDB)

“They didn’t buy the Fox studio,” Fox executive Winfield Sheehan explained. “They bought Shirley Temple.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt even acknowledged her contribution to American morale, saying, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.” Despite working six days a week to produce the stuff that Americans so sorely wanted, Temple still had time to be a (somewhat) regular youngster. Diana Serra Cary, a former child star known as Baby Peggy, remembers meeting Temple in her studio house.

“There was a daybed with a white phone beside it,” Cary recounted. “Pretending she was her mother (which I am sure fooled no one!) she ordered ice cream sent in from the Chez Paris,” the commissary of the studio. Temple caused even more trouble when her family was invited to a cookout with the president and first wife at their Hyde Park mansion. According to Edwards, her parents, who are diehard Republicans, were originally leery about accepting the Democrats’ invitation. They soon gave in and were charmed over by the lovely Roosevelts, with Temple possibly becoming a little too comfortable.

“Mrs. Roosevelt was bending over an outdoor grill cooking some hamburgers for us,” Temple recalled to Edwards. “I was wearing my tiny dress with puffed sleeves and white heels, and I was carrying a really feminine lace purse that held the slingshot I always carried with me. I couldn’t resist when I saw Mrs. Roosevelt kneeling over. I slingshot a pebble at her. She jumped quite smartly, and the Secret Service agents assigned to her were extremely upset for a long. But no one saw me do it except my mother, who didn’t report me until we returned to the hotel. Then she let me have it in the identical location where I had attacked the first lady.”

Shirley Temple Black — DCF Donor Stories

Despite her assault on the first lady, Temple subsequently described Eleanor as one of her childhood idols, saying, “I think she influenced me, got me interested in human rights and human dignity for all people.” Temple married San Francisco blue blood Charles Alden Black in 1950, following a brief marriage to actor John Agar when she was 17 years old. At a press conference to announce the marriage, she announced that she was leaving the movie industry after 19 years. “That is long enough. “My only contract is with Mr. Black,” Temple joked, according to Edwards. She then hugged her husband and gave the journalists a knowing wink. “And it’s exclusive.”

The couple would have an extremely prosperous marriage that lasted until Black’s death in 2005. “Her entire life has been spent doing various forms of public duty, whether by entertaining or assisting others. I believe she’s a deity.According to Edwards, Black responded, “I support her in everything she does.” He was especially proud of Temple’s political career in the 1960s, which earned him the nickname “the consort.”

However, Temple quickly discovered that politics and diplomacy were just as difficult as the film industry. Temple’s harshest opponent would be the famous Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. According to Edwards, after Gerald Ford appointed Temple ambassador to Ghana in 1974, Kissinger joked that he had always wanted to “get movie stars into a position where they had to come when I called them, and now that I’ve solved the problem, I’m married.”

Shirley Temple

Temple just gave a sour smile. She believed that her upbringing had more than qualified her for a career in diplomacy. “On a publicity tour, a mayor had accidentally slammed a car door on three of her fingers,” writes Edwards. Gertrude whispered, ‘Don’t cry!’ when the door opened quickly. “It was an early [diplomatic] lesson.”

Her term as ambassador to Ghana will be cut short due to a misunderstanding with Kissinger. During an African tour in 1976, she recommended Harry visit Ghana’s capital, Accra. However, at the last minute, Ghanaians protested that a mere secretary of state could not meet with their ruler, Ignatius Acheampong. Kissinger refused to meet with a government official, and the Ghanaians abruptly revoked their invitation. Shortly after, Temple was sent to Liberia to meet with an irate Kissinger. To lessen the shock, she was quickly returned from Ghana and assigned to the position of chief of protocol in Washington, DC.

However, Temple was still under to Kissinger’s influence at her new post. “I don’t think she liked working under Henry,” a staff member told Edwards. “She liked people to be straightforward with her and she would reply in that same manner.” Although Temple finally received Kissinger’s praise—he described her as “very intelligent, very tough-minded, very disciplined”—it’s doubtful she cared.

“I’m durable,” Temple told a reporter when asked about Kissinger’s toughness. “I don’t damage easily.”Shirley vs. The Red Menace
In 1989, President George Bush appointed Temple as ambassador to Czechoslovakia. It was a particularly difficult role for a Communist country at a time when Communism was unraveling throughout Eastern Europe.

Shirley Temple

Temple was perfectly adapted to it. She traveled to Czechoslovakia in August 1968 to meet with the country’s reforming leader, Alexander Dubček, on behalf of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies, which she cofounded. The country was in the midst of the Prague Spring, with residents demonstrating for freedom from the Soviet Union’s rigorous repression.

Temple, who was sleeping in her hotel room in Prague, “was soon awakened by a hammering at her door,” according to Edwards. Outside, there heard ‘the shriek of a low-flying jet plane…distant shouting on the street and a rattle of gunfire.’ A member of the hotel staff had arrived to alert her of the invasion. ‘Tanks and infantry are entering Prague!’ he exclaimed.

The Russians had arrived to quell the riots. Temple was trapped inside the hotel. “From my high perch—and cautious not to be seen—I managed to gaze out through a slit in the railing. “A woman on the street was mercilessly gunned down as she ran for shelter—an image I have never forgotten,” she told Edwards.
Temple and other Americans were later rescued by a driver from the US Embassy. They joined a caravan of dozens of cars escaping to safety near the West German border. “Shirley returned home the next morning…to San Francisco, where her family and nearly a hundred newsmen met her,” writes Edwards.

Former Childhood Star Shirley Temple Dies At Age 85 | Shirley temple black, Shirley temple, Celebrities

“She then held up a record. ‘It is the Czech national anthem,’ she explained. “They don’t play it anymore.”Twenty years later, as ambassador to Czechoslovakia, Temple carefully fought for democracy and the abolition of armed authority, ironically observing that “nothing crushes freedom as substantially as a tank.” The Velvet Revolution began months after Temple became ambassador in 1989, and the Communist government was eventually deposed, much to her joy.

“Shortly after Communism fell in Czechoslovakia, a seated Ambassador Black called her senior staff together into a private, closed-door meeting,” an entry on the official website of the United States Embassy in the Czech Republic states. “Looking them severely in the eye, she told them, ‘I’m only going to do this once.’ And with that, she jumped up, grinned, and danced around the room, singing ‘On the Good Ship Lollipop.'”

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