Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Mieography

Shirley Temple was born in 1928, in Santa Monica, California, to George and Gertrude Temple. Her mother was very progressive for that time, and wanted to influence her daughters future by using prenatal association, specifically with music and art. She listened to records, read books aloud, and attended many dance recitals and concerts. She continued to do this after Shirley was born, especially reading books, and performing the characters in those books. Shirley began to mimic her at a young age.

They were luckier then most families during the depression, as their house, and their car were both paid for, and Shirley's father had been very careful with his investments. Mrs. Temple spent much time with Shirley, teaching her the words to the popular songs, and simple dance steps. When Shirley was three, her mother enrolled her in a dance school in Los Angeles. She also, at this time, began the ritual of styling her daughters long, thick hair into exactly fifty-six ringlets, trying to copy the style that was being worn by Mary Pickford. While Shirley was at this school, a film director named Charles Lamont came in for a talent show, and encouraged Shirley to try out for a series of one liners called "Baby Burlesks", trying to compete with the popular "Our Gang" comedy shorts of the times. She did go try out, and was signed for a two year contract, at a whopping $10.00 a day for four day shooting schedules. The preschool aged actors were not paid for any expenses or rehearsals, and sometimes had ten days of rehearsal time. When one of the kids got in trouble, they were put into a small "black box" isolation chamber, with a block of ice as their chair. On her first day, she worked twelve hours (with two naps). She appeared in all eight films of the series, and then graduated to a new series, where she began to make $15.00 a day, and $50.00 a movie. To underwrite the costs of the film, she, and her little co stars were used as models for gum, cereal, and candy bar and cigar promotional ad's. She was also loaned out periodically to other studios. She wound up under contract, eventually with Fox Films after her first studio went bankrupt. It was at Fox where she really blossomed, doing films such as "Stand up and Cheer!", "Little Miss Marker", and "Bright Eyes" the film where she sang "On the Good Ship Lollipop", which became an instant hit. She was awarded a special miniature Oscar in special recognition of her contributions to the film entertainment of 1934. She also got to add her hand and foot prints to the sidewalk at Grauman's Chinese Theater.
F0x then merged with Twentieth Century Pictures, and the studio head, Darryl F. Zanuck focused the company resources in turning Shirley into a Superstar. There were nineteen writers known as the "Shirley Temple Story Development Team" working there, writing and adapting stories for her to star in. She was making four films a year. At one point, a British critic panned one of her films, and accused her of being too nubile for a nine year old. He was sued for libel, by Shirley, and Twentieth Century Fox, and they won. She used the money to build a youth center in England.
By 1940, after countless movies, her last two being a flop, it was obvious that her career as a child star was over. Her parents sent her to "Westlake School for Girls" to continue her education. Within a year, though, MGM contracted her, and had plans to help her come back. Those plans failed, as did every other attempt to bring the older Shirley into any further films. In August of 1950 Shirley officially retired, and married Charles Alden Black. She had been married previously, and had a daughter from that marriage. They had a daughter together, as well. Shirley appeared sporadically on television, and enjoyed her time as a house wife, and mother. She also became active in the California Republican Party, and, at one point, ran for the House of Representatives (unsucessfully). In 1972, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had a radical mastectomy. She announced her diagnosis to the world, one of the first prominent women to speak openly about breast cancer.
She continued on with her political career, and has been a United States Ambassador to two countries, Ghana, and Czechoslovakia. She also served on multiple boards of directors for large companies, including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte, Bank of America, and the National Wildlife Federation, just to name a few.
In all during her career, Shirley starred in 14 short films, 43feature films, and over 25 storybook movies.
She currently lives in Northern California.


sybil law said...

I loved "Poor Little Rich Girl" as a kid!

Finding Pam said...

She was so cute and it is sad that her career did not cross over to her adult years. But she did make a name for herself.

Mimi said...

I love Shirley Temple. I saw a pack of her movies at Costco the other day, it was very tempting.