Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy 82nd Birthday Shirley Temple Black!

From beloved child actress to Ambassador, Shirley Temple is one of the most celebrated persons of all time.

Shirley Jane Temple was born April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California to George Francis Temple, a bank employee and Gertrude Amelia Krieger, a housewife.

Early in 1931, Mrs. Temple took the first steps in bringing her daughter to the screen. She was convinced her three-year-old daughter had exceptional talent. She enrolled her daughter in the highly competitive Meglin's Dance School in Los Angeles, California on the Mack Sennett lot for twice weekly dance lessons.

Shortly after Shirley Temple's third birthday, Educational Pictures planned a series of one-reelers called Baby Burlesks to compete with the popular Our Gang comedy shorts. Charles Lamont, a film director with Educational, conducted a talent search among the children at the Meglin School, found Temple hiding behind a piano, and encouraged her to audition for the series. She did, and was signed to a two-year contract in January 1932 at $10 a day.

Shirley Temple made her screen debut in 1932 in the film Runt Page. Her first spoken screen line was "Mais oui, mon cher" in War Babies (1932). Shirley's first on screen tap dance and song, "She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage", occurred in Glad Rags to Riches (1933).

In Bright Eyes (1934) she introduced what would become her signature song "On the Good Ship Lollipop."

In 1935, she became the youngest person to receive an Academy Award when she was honored with the Juvenile Oscar. A month later, she added her foot and hand prints to the forecourt at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

At the age of 6, she was the youngest presenter at the Oscars ever. She presented the "Best Actress" award in 1935. The winner was Claudette Colbert.

By the time Shirley Temple was ten years old, she had appeared in more than fifty shorts and films including Little Miss Marker (1934), Curly Top (1935), and Captain January (1936).

As a young adult, Shirley Temple appeared in films such as The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), Fort Apache (1948), and The Story of Seabiscuit (1949).

Shirley Temple retired from the silver screen at the age of after appearing on The Red Skelton show in 1963.

Shirley Temple now turned her attention to politics. She became active in the Republican Party in California, where, in 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives.

In 1967, Shirley Temple was appointed Representative to the 24th General Assembly of the United Nations by President Richard M. Nixon.

From 1974 to 1976, Shirley Temple served as the United States Ambassador to Ghana.

In 1976, Shirley Temple was appointed the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States and was in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter's inauguration and inaugural ball.

From 1989 to 1992, she served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.

Shirley Temple has also served on numerous boards of directors of large enterprises and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte, Bank of America, the Bank of California, BANCAL Tri-State, Fireman's Fund Insurance, the United States Commission for UNESCO, the United Nations Association, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Shirley Temple is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Life Achievement Award from the American Center of Films for Children, the National Board of Review Career Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Of all of Shirley Temple's accomplishments, she is most proud of her children and grandchildren.

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