timeline

born 1928

Shirley Temple Black grew up as America's sweetheart, a ray of hope during the Great Depression. Cast in her first major motion pictures at age 4, Shirley had 46 films and an Academy Award under her belt before she even hit her teens. A true international celebrity, she was the world's most photographed person and top box-office draw from 1935-1939.

Shirley spread hope + goodwill as a ringletted toddler in the film industry; she did the same as an adult in government service. Re-entering the public eye after quietly raising a family, America’s Darling eventually became one of its top envoys. Shirley held diplomatic posts in Ghana and Czechoslovakia. And, was the first woman to be appointed as the US Chief of Protocol.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Shirley Temple (16)

"Sunnybrook Farm is now a parking lot; the petticoats are in the garbage can, where they belong in the modern world; and I detest censorship."

Sex at the Box Office | january 1967

"Sexuality in movies can run the gamut from tenderness to hilarity to boredom to poor taste. By my definition, this is not to be confused with pornography."

Sex at the Box Office | january 1967

"The specter of breast cancer is a universal element of the feminine condition—and it makes sisters of us all, the world over. We need to reach out to one another, to sustain one another through this problem that we all share."

Don't Sit Home and Be Afraid | february 1973

"I am a body, and I vigorously defend my right to do with my body exactly what I wish to do."

Don't Sit Home and Be Afraid | february 1973

"The doctor can make the incision, but I'll make the decision."

Don't Sit Home and Be Afraid | february 1973

"It's a great honor to be the first woman Chief of Protocol for the United States of America. I don't know why, Mr. President, it took 200 years for one of us to get the job, but I will do all my very best work to try to fill all the various assorted sizes of shoes of the distinguished men who have been Chief of Protocol."

the Swearing In of Shirley Temple Black as Chief of Protocol for the State Department | july 1976

"Titles are interesting, but they hamper dialogue."

Shirley Temple Black ~ Dimpled Chief of Protocol | september 1976

"Shirley Temple opens doors for me all over the world. And if Shirley Temple Black can contribute something, then I do."

The Diane Rehm Show | 1988

"I had so much energy, [my mother] was afraid I was gonna pull the house down."

The Diane Rehm Show | 1988

"By the time I started the baby burlesques at age three and a half, I had a basic understanding of dancing, and how to fall down, and how to find the light."

The Diane Rehm Show | 1988

"Starlets have clean teeth, clean socks...and they're always obliging."

The Diane Rehm Show | 1988

"I was really a tomboy, but America didn't know that. They thought I was always a sweet and nice little girl."

The Diane Rehm Show | 1988

"I like working-class people the best, always have. When I saw work shoes I would know that that person worked. I was very worried about people with shiny, pointy shoes as a child."

with Leonard Maltin | 1998

"I’d had a lot of crowds...but my mother always said, at a premiere, ‘They’ve come to see all of the stars.’ And I said, ‘Well, why are they saying ‘Shirley, Shirley, Shirley?’ She said, ‘Because your films make them happy.’"

with Leonard Maltin | 1998

"I've been blessed with 3 wonderful careers—motion pictures and television; wife, mother and grandmother; and diplomatic services for the United States government."

The Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award | january 2005

"I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the 'Lifetime Achievement Award'—start early."

The Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award | january 2005
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson