Shirley Temple (born 1928) is arguably the most famous child actress in film history.
She was very popular during the desperate times of The Great Depression
, but those viewing her films today are more likely to have a reaction of Tastes Like Diabetes
and Values Dissonance
(due to her blackface scene in The Littlest Rebel
, though the many times she was paired with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson can be considered one of the few times that a black man and a white girl could be seen on film during the days of the Hays Code
, which didn't allow interracial pairings (especially if they were sexual and/or romantic. This got a free pass since it was platonic).
After leaving the stage, Temple entered politics, serving terms as chief of protocol and the U.S. ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. Today she continues to reside in California.
For some reason, characters based off her tend to be Spoiled Brats
, despite Shirley never really doing that in her films or real life. Careful not to confuse her with Darla Hood
This actress provides examples of:
- Cheerful Child: Ms. Temple's usual role.
- Cute but Cacophonic: Just listen to her singing.
- The Danza: In four of her early films.note
- 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.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Often (but not always) played these in her films.
- 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.
- The Red Stapler: Set a lot of trends for girls, notably the hairstyle.
- And the first name "Shirley", which was originally a boys' name (among others, the name is given to one of Anne of Green Gables' sons). To this day, Shirley is a time capsule name dated to the peak of Temple's popularity that makes it very difficult for a woman to lie about her age.
- Regal Ringlets
- She Is All Grown Up: Her later films, like Since You Went Away, and The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: In Bright Eyes, Temple is the Girly Girl to Jane Withers Tomboy, although because of the mores of the time, and The Hays Code, both girls wear dresses.
- What Could Have Been: Was considered for the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz before the part was given to Judy Garland.