Name: Shirley Temple Black
Birth: April 23, 1928; Death: February 10, 2014
Occupation: Film and television actress
Shirley Temple. You hear her name and you immediately think back to the young child actress with huge blonde curls and a big smile. And that’s exactly what she’s most remembered for. Having started her acting career at the young age of 3, Shirley Temple became incredibly popular after playing a role in Bright Eyes, a film that had been designed to showcase her unique talents.
Truth be told, Shirley Temple was so talented the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences created the Academy Juvenile Award. This was after, in 1929, the board recognized that child actors weren’t fairly pitted against their adult counterparts during voting (as had happened to the young Jackie Cooper in 1931). Shirley Temple was six years old when she received the award – the first ever awarded.
As a child, Shirley played notable roles in hit films like The Little Colonel, Our Little Girl, Captain January, Dimples, Poor Little Rich Girl, Heidi, and Curly Top. She not only acted but endorsed several products, including Packard and Quaker Puffed Wheat, and earned royalties from products made in her image.
As she reached adolescence, her popularity began to diminish. At the age of 12, her parents actually bought out the end of her contract and sent her home, but a year later MGM signed her back for another contract. A couple of the later movies were hits but the majority broke even and were nothing special. Shirley Temple had been typecast as a child actress and moving into more mature roles was not as successful as one might have hoped.
Shirley Temple retired from film at the age of 22, returning just a few times for guest appearances. She spent the majority of her time sitting on the boards of major corporations, including the National Wildlife Federation and The Walt Disney Company.
Temple was married in 1943 to John Agar, but the couple divorced in 1949, after which she regained her married name and had full custody of her daughter. She met Charles Alden Black in 1950 and the couple was married by the end of that same year. They had two children together. Her net worth is estimated to be between $10,000,000 and $30,000,000.
How much is $30,000,000?
It’s enough to make a huge impact. Shirley Temple Black was one of the first celebrity women to speak publicly about breast cancer, helping to bring awareness to this particular form of cancer. If she had wanted, she could have used her fortune to create her own awareness campaign; though, realistically, I’m not sure how well that would have done considering – again – her typecast child image.
Sadly, Shirley Temple passed away quietly in her home on February 10, 2014, at the age of 85. Her death was reported to be from natural causes.