Beloved child actress, Shirley Temple Black, passed away last night. She was an uplifting light during difficult years in US history. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said during the depression that “as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.” In her memory, we look back at some facts about her life.
- Technically Shirley Temple is the youngest recipient of an Oscar statue, but it wasn’t for her work in one picture. When she received her miniature statue, she was just 55 days shy of her seventh birthday. The award was for “grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment” in 1934.
- Shirley Temple’s hairstyle had exactly 56 curls.
- Shirley Temple made $300,000 in 1938, but her allowance was only $4.25 a week.
- Shirley Temple demanded that her Pekingnese pup, Ching-Ching II, be included in her film Just Around the Corner—and be paid as an extra.
- Harpo Marx once tried to adopt Shirley Temple.
- On her eighth birthday, Shirley Temple received 135,000 presents.
- In the 1930s, child actress Shirley Temple was the biggest star in Hollywood and she frequently went to dinner at Chasen’s, a restaurant popular with the film industry. In 1938, on the occasion of her 10th birthday, the bartenders at Chasen’s concocted a drink just for her—alcohol-free and caffeine-free. The original recipe: two parts ginger ale, one part orange juice, a tablespoon of grenadine syrup, and a maraschino cherry garnish. Today, the drink is more commonly made with 7-Up instead of ginger ale, and without orange juice. Temple was such a big star that the drink caught on. Today there are alcoholic variations, such as the Shirley Temple Black, which adds Johnnie Walker Black Whiskey or Kahlua and plays on the star’s married name.
- Her political life included terms as the Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly, United States Ambassador to Ghana, first female Chief of Protocol of the United States, and the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
- In 1977 President Jimmy Carter was riding in an elevator with chief of protocol Shirley Temple Black. When the elevator stopped, Black stepped aside and said, “After you, Mr. President.” That was correct protocol, but Carter felt it was ungentlemanly for him to leave the elevator before Black. After the two argued about it for a while, an aide finally pushed them both off the elevator at the same time.
We end with one our favorite Shirley Temple quote:
I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”