Creator / Shirley Temple
Hollywood Years
Shirley Temple (April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) is arguably the most famous child actress in film history. She was the top box office draw for four straight years, 1935-38, a record no other child star has come close to.

Her specialty: tap dancing orphans who strike it rich. Rarely do her parents actually die onscreen as in Bright Eyes, which is ironically one of her darker films despite the "Good Ship Lollipop" song. She was very popular during the desperate times of The Great Depression, but her brand of sugary goop is likely to cause Diabetic overload today. So successful was the formula that 20th Century Fox changed the titular character from Wee Willie Winkie to a girl. Expect a suave man about town, a lemon-faced aunt, and a Cool Teacher to also make an appearance.

A triple threat at age 10, she was most often paired with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, one of the few times that a black man got a free pass during the days of The Hays Code (which didn't allow interracial pairings). You'd be hard-pressed to find a more winning picture of values dissonance than these two. Temple and Robinson became close friends and were considered something of a Dream Team in their day, yet the on-screen relationship was clearly not an equal one. Dynamic duo or capitalist tools? Your mileage may very. Poor Shirley also had a memorable blackface scene in the The Littlest Rebel, a film which manages to out-cringe even Al "My Mammy in Alabammy" Jolson, one of her contemporaries.
DC Years
Temple's career trailed off as she approached adulthood, partly because she wasn't offered any good roles, and possibly because audiences weren't too comfortable with Shirley "Dimples" Temple being replaced with a very foxy young lady. She retired from show business at age 21. After leaving the stage, Temple entered politics, serving terms as chief of protocol and the U.S. Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Temple died at the age of 85 in February 2014.

For some reason, characters based on her tend to be Spoiled Brats, despite Shirley not really being prone to misbehaving in films or real life. She was, however, chided by her mother for being "brattish" in 1938 when she hit Eleanor Roosevelt with a slingshot.

Be careful not to confuse her with Darla Hood.

Shirley Temple films listed on this wiki include:

This actress provides examples of:

  • Cheerful Child: Ms. Temple's usual role.
    • Shirley's mother wanted her to be able to play sassy little brats, maybe even Enfants Terribles, and Shirley herself wanted to play more Action Girl type roles, but the studio (20th Century Fox) wouldn't allow either one.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: A mild example: she couldn’t carry a tune and her singing voice was rather mediocre, but she didn’t sound much worse than your average child, and it just made her come off as adorable.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: With the exception of The Little Princess, all of Shirley Temple's 1930s films were shot in black-and-white. Almost all of them are available in color now. Some were colorized twice, first in the 1980s and again in the early twenty-first century. Typically, the DVD/Blu-Ray lets you choose between watching the original black-and-white version and a colorized version.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: In Little Miss Broadway: "You mean ol' pumpkin!" She should have offered some ointment for that burn.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: She often (but not always) played these in her films.
  • Hole in Flag: Her ambassadorship to Czechoslovakia coincided with the Velvet Revolution, when the country peacefully transitioned from communism to democracy. In fact, she was the second-to-last U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia before it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Didn't know that, did you?
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: In Poor Little Rich Girl, Temple's character, Barbara, is forced to eat spinach, and says something along the lines of this. Barbara even performs a song on the radio based around this.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Shirley Temple's characters are usually the ones who make the villains have a change of heart, because she is so innocent and well meaning. See: the ode to Shirley in Curly Top:
    You're just so full of sunshine
    Folks agree
    You could supply the world
    With Vitamin D!
    Two eyes that make
    The heavens proud to be blue
    Angel cake
    It's just a copy of you!
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: The studio lied about her age, saying she was younger for ages.
  • Perpetual Smiler: She started school and her teachers asked her mother what was wrong with her, because she was smiling all the time.
  • Pretty in Mink: She wore a white rabbit fur coat in one movie, and that's been the most common real fur choice for girls' coats since.
  • Public Domain: The Little Princess, due to Fox failing to renew the copyright. As a result, it can be seen for free on the internet. All of her other movies still have their copyrights.
  • Regal Ringlets: She was famous for her curls; one of her films was even called Curly Top.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Her later films, like Since You Went Away and The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer. Audiences of the time didn't take it well.