Very few people come close to Shirley Temple as far as child stars go – she remains one of the most famous child actors to date. At only three years old, Shirley Temple started her film career, setting her on course to providing a stellar performance in Bright Eyes (1934). Although the movie was released nearly a century ago, even those who didn’t witness the actress’s greatness know about it. Shirley Temple’s life wasn’t all about acting, though. At some point, she served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Ghana. This article highlights more Shirley Temple facts to give you a clear picture of who she was like.

1. She Is the Youngest Academy Award Recipient

In 1935, when she was 6 years old, Shirley Temple won a special Juvenile Academy Award for her immense contribution as a young performer in motion pictures. Not only was she the youngest, but she was also the first to win the precious award. She did it before Judy Garland, who was older than her by about 6 years.

At the same event, she became the youngest presenter at the Oscars ever. Shirley Temple presented the “Best Actress” award to Claudette Colbert, the winner.

2. Shirley Temple’s Career As a Child Star Was Marred with Myths and Rumors

Despite/due to her fame, Shirley Temple faced backlash, myths, and rumors as a child star. Fox’s press department peddled the most popular misinformation, which publicized her as a natural talent with no formal dancing or acting training (apparently, this was a negative thing).

However, the most damaging allegation was that she was not a child but a 30-year-old dwarf. The rumor prevailed so much that the Vatican sent Father Silvio Massante to ascertain that Shirley Temple was indeed a child.

Also, during her early acting career, Shirley Temple never appeared to miss any teeth, which was amiss for a child her age. This led some people to believe that she was an adult. It turns out that whenever Shirley Temple had gaps in her teeth, she wore dental plates and caps to hide them.

Besides her height and teeth, people also had problems with Shirley Temple’s trademark hair (natural hair). Many were convinced that she wore a wig. People yanked her hair multiple times to see whether it would come off. Later, Shirley Temple revealed that she wished the rumors that she wore a wig were true.

3. Shirley Temple Stopped Believing In Santa Claus after He Asked Her for an Autograph

When she was young, Shirley Temple’s mother took her to a mall to see Santa Claus. There, Santa asked her for an autograph, which made the child star question the validity of the whole Santa Claus thing.

4. A Woman Once Tried to Assassinate Her

In 1939, as an 11-year-old Shirley Temple was performing the song “Silent Night” live on radio, a woman attempted to assassinate her. The perpetrator was convinced that the child star had swiped her daughter’s soul, and it was only by shooting her that she would unleash it.

5. Shirley Is Famous for the Phrase, “Mommy, Can I Go Home Now?”

After receiving her Juvenile Academy Award from actor/writer Irvin S. Cobb in 1935, Shirley Temple respectably thanked him. However, she also said something that touched the crowd: she turned to her mother and asked, “Mommy, can I go home now?” The phrase became so popular that she was often asked about it, even when she was older.

In the 1984 Oscar show, Shirley Temple explained what happened that day. She said she had sat through the ceremony, watching people receive their awards. It was about 10.00 p.m. when she got hers, so she was terribly exhausted and just wanted to go home.

6. Her Diplomatic Career Was Equally As Impressive

After making a killing in the show business industry, Shirley Temple turned to diplomatic duties in 1969. Her first duty was representing the United States at a session of the United Nations General Assembly; she worked under Ambassador Charles Yost. Shirley Temple later worked as the country’s ambassador to Ghana before serving as the ambassador to Czechoslovakia.

7. She Was the First Female United States Chief of Protocol

In the United States, the chief of protocol officer is a very powerful person. They are responsible for advising the country’s president, vice president, and secretary of state. Under President Gerald Ford’s administration, Shirley Temple became the first woman to serve as chief of protocol. She paved the way for others like Edith Dobelle, Leonore Annenberg, and Selwa Roosevelt.

8. Shirley Temple Made 20th Century-Fox $3 Million

In 1988, Shirley Temple interviewed Larry King, revealing she had made about $3 million for 20th Century Fox. She further stated that only about $45,000 was deposited in her trust fund for her exploits.

9. There Is a Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Created in Her Honor

Popularly known as the Shirley Temple, the non-alcoholic drink traditionally had ginger ale as its main ingredient. A splash of grenadine and maraschino cherry were also common additions. Many Shirley Temple recipes are available today, with some preferring lemonade, lemon-lime soda, or orange juice as a substitute for ginger ale. The drink was made in honor of Shirley Temple, who, by the way, didn’t like it much.

10. She Described Her Meeting with Charles Black As Corny

In an interview, Shirley Temple admitted that she fell in love with Charles Black at first sight, something she described as corny. At the time, Black worked for a shipping company; the pair met in Honolulu.

11. She Revealed That the Producer of The Wizard of Oz Exposed His Manhood to Her on Their First Meeting

In her autobiography, Shirley Temple revealed that the Producer of The Wizard of Oz, Arthur Freed, exposed his manhood to her on their first meeting. According to her, when she visited MGM, Arthur Freed unzipped his trousers and exposed himself to her. Being innocent of male anatomy, Shirley Temple giggled, prompting the producer to throw her out of his office.

PS: Shirley Temple didn’t play any role in The Wizard of Oz because she was under contract with a different studio that wouldn’t allow it. Wizard of Oz executives wanted her for the Dorothy role.

12. Her Acting Career Was Short-lived

Because of the fame that Shirley Temple attracted, it’s hard to imagine that she was only active in show business for about 12 years. Make no mistake, though; during this time, she managed to star in about 50 films and TV shows. Most of her popularity came from her roles in The Little Colonel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Little Princess, and Bright Eyes.

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General Knowledge, People,

Last Update: March 15, 2024