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April 23, 2024

15 Adorable Photos of Shirley Temple as a Baby From the Late 1920s

Shirley Temple Black (born Shirley Jane Temple; April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) was an American actress, singer, dancer, and diplomat, who was Hollywood’s number-one box-office draw as a child actress from 1934 to 1938. Later, she was named United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States.

Shirley Jane Temple was born at Santa Monica Hospital (now UCLA Medical Center) in Santa Monica, California, the third child of homemaker Gertrude Temple and bank employee George Temple. The family was of Dutch, English, and German ancestry.

Temple’s mother encouraged her to develop her singing, dancing, and acting talents. At about this time, her mother began styling Temple’s hair in ringlets.

While at the dance school, Temple was spotted by Charles Lamont, who was a casting director for Educational Pictures. She hid behind a piano while he was in the studio. Lamont liked Temple and invited her to audition. He signed her to a contract in 1932. Educational Pictures launched its Baby Burlesks, 10-minute comedy shorts satirizing recent films and events, using preschool children in every role. In 1933, Temple appeared in Glad Rags to Riches, a parody of the Mae West feature She Done Him Wrong, with Temple as a saloon singer. That same year, she appeared in Kid ‘in’ Africa as a child imperiled in the jungle and in Runt Page, a pastiche of the previous year’s The Front Page. The younger players in the cast recited their lines phonetically.

Temple became the breakout star of this series, and Educational promoted her to 20-minute comedies in the Frolics of Youth series with Frank Coghlan Jr. Temple played Mary Lou Rogers, the baby sister in a contemporary suburban family. Temple and her child costars modeled for breakfast cereals and other products to fund production costs. She was lent to Tower Productions for a small role in the studio’s first feature film, The Red-Haired Alibi (1932), and in 1933 to Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Pictures for various parts, including an uncredited role in To the Last Man (1933), starring Randolph Scott and Esther Ralston.


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