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Shirley Temple: America's #1 Sweetheart

Updated on April 27, 2016

Shirley Temple Black passed away on February 10, 2014, at age 85, and I had to take the time to write about her because of what she meant to my childhood. I grew up watching her movies. I started watching them because I was often compared to her: the same curly hair, similar looks, the spirit. Being compared to someone induces curiosity about that person.

Although she was a child of the 1930s and I was a child of the 1990s, I grew up with her. I couldn't help but smile every time I watched one of her films. She brought joy to my heart, just like she did into the hearts of all those facing financial problems during the Great Depression era.

Shirley Temple was born on April 23,1928, in Santa Monica, California, to Gertrude Amelia Temple (a homemaker) and George Francis Temple (a bank employee). She was the only daughter with two brothers. Her acting, dancing, and singing career began after she was discovered at the age of three at Meglin's Dance School in Los Angeles by a casting director for Educational Pictures. She entered into a contract with them in 1932, and this begin her career into singing and dancing into hearts of everyone in America. She was truly America's Biggest Sweetheart.

In 1943, at age 15, Temple met 22-year-old Army Sgt. John Agar and married him on September 19, 1945 at Wilshire Methodist Church. Although that marriage didn't last, it produced a daughter, Linda Susan Agar (born 1948). The marriage legally ended on December 5, 1950.

Temple's heart soon found another, a WWII United States Navy intelligence officer, Charles Alden Black, who she wed on December 16, 1950. The marriage produced two more children, a son, Charles Alden Black, Jr (born 1952) and another daughter, Lori Alden Black (born 1954). She suffered a heart break when she was widowed in 2005. She never remarried after that.

What I admire most about Shirley Temple is that unlike other child stars who grow up and become addicted to drugs and eventually die of an overdose, Shirley Temple didn't. She grew up into a well brought up young lady and so on. She got involved into politics and served as the United States Ambassador to Ghana and to Czechoslovakie and as the Chief Protocol of the United States. She was a breast cancer survivor and was the first woman to ever talk openly about it therefore taking a stand against and encouraging annual mammograms. She was an inspiration to us all.

What's your favorite Shirley Temple movie?

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