97. Shirley Temple: From Child Star to Diplomat



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One of the most famous child stars in the history of films in the United States was the great Shirley Temple. Temple starred in some of the greatest movies ever made during the film industry's infancy. Born on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California, Temple was encouraged by her mother to develop her interest in singing, acting, and dancing. She enrolled young Shirley into a dance school at the age of 3. She also began styling Shirley's hair copying silent movie star Mary Pickford's wholesome, All-American, pigtail look.

Her first acting experience came while she was still in the dancing school at a very young age. She appeared in a series of short films where child actors were used to play adults. The shorts, as they were called, were satirical in nature, and soon fell out of favor with the public. Temple gained valuable acting experience at a young age, though. A Fox Film songwriter was very taken by the young star, and he introduced her to studio executives. She was signed to do her first film in 1933 at the age of 5. The film Stand Up and Cheer was a big hit, and Temple's career was off.

Her career is one of the most remarkable in Hollywood history. She made dozens of successful films as a child actress. She was very mature, and talented for someone so young, but by 1942, her films began to flop. Her career was seemingly over by her teen years, and announced her official retirement in 1950. This did not stop Temple though, as she began a second career as a public servant. She got involved with the Republican party, ran in a special election, in California, in 1967, but lost. She was then noticed by U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, who offered her a diplomatic position, which she accepted. She served as ambassador to several countries during her political career under President Gerald Ford, and President George H.W. Bush.

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