How to get an Oscar at six: a story of the most popular American child actress
In 1930s, this girl became America’s sweetheart and the highest-paid actress of her time. She saved Fox Films from ruin and made happy millions of Americans during the Great Depression. As you have already guessed, her name is Shirley Temple.
The world of cinema has its own
Shirley Temple Black was born on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California. She owed her incredible success to her parents, who wanted the girl to become a star since the very moment of her birth. And they really did everything possible to achieve the aim.
Shirley’s mother started teaching her daughter singing, dancing and acting from young age. When the girl was three, her parents enrolled her to famous Meglin's Dance School in LA, where she was spotted by Charles Lamont, a producer of Educational Pictures. He invited Shirley to audition and then cast her in Baby Burlesks, а series of short films.
Shirley appeared on the screen at the right time: people needed such pure and sunny image that would help them forget about the economic crisis, unemployment and other social problems.
After Educational Pictures went bankrupt, Shirley’s parents signed contract with Fox Films. Here the girl worked with the best Hollywood filmmakers, actors and songwriters. The movie “Stand Up and Cheer!” released in 1934 became a real hit and Shirley’s first great success.
Interestingly, the girl’s parents and Fox Films (and later 20th Century Fox) encouraged various myths about the wunderkind. For example, many people believed that Shirley had natural curly hair. In fact, her mother Gertrude kept styling Shirley’s hair in ringlets since her very childhood. According to another myth, the young actress had an inborn talent for dancing and had never been trained. This was also not true – her parents hired a personal tutor, who taught her various types of dance.
At the age of six Shirley got a Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934.
By the age of eight, the girl had earned more than 8 million dollars. Her portraits were printed on cards, posters and souvenirs. Before Barbie doll appeared, Shirley Temple doll was the most popular doll in the world. In 1935, the actress left her handprints and footprints at the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Shirley's popularity started to fade away when she turned twelve. She took part in auditioning for the role of Dorothy in “The wizard of Oz” movie and lost. After that, the girl starred in several other films, but unfortunately, none of them were successful. The little cute girl grew up and couldn’t attract people’s attention anymore.
Adult Shirley left the world of cinematography and started her political career serving as United States Ambassador to Ghana and later to Czechoslovakia, and as Chief of Protocol of the United States.
The legend of American cinematography died in 2014 at the age of 85 surrounded by her three children and grandchildren.
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