Shirley Temple remains one of the world’s most beloved actresses of all time.
The child star was barely able to walk when she made her screen debut as a toddler — and it didn’t take long for her iconic curls, precocious attitude, and delightful dimples to win over audiences across the globe. Of course, that was also a lot of pressure for someone so young to carry around.
But Shirley simply wasn’t like any other performer in her era. In fact, she’s still considered a one of a kind talent that has yet to be truly replicated. That said, how much do you really know about her life before and after growing up in the spotlight?
Take a look below to learn a few things you might not have known about the pint-sized actress and her career.
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1. Her First Starring Role Was Surprisingly Racy
At just 3, Shirley starred in the 1932 parody Baby Burlesks.
She wore pint-sized versions of lacy lingerie as a “dancer” who charmed two equally young male babies playing World War I soldiers.
2. She Always Had The Exact Same Number Of Curls
During productions, Shirley’s mother styled her iconic hairdo into pin curls at night — exactly 56 curls each time.
3. She Helped Boost Morale During The Great Depression
While addressing the economic plight, Franklin D. Roosevelt was quoted saying, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.”
4. An Onscreen Kiss Caused A Scandal
Shirley played the title role in the 1942 flick Miss Annie Rooney where her costar, Dickie Moore, gave her a chaste smooch on the cheek.
It was the first time audiences had seen the beloved young actress in a romantic setting, so the innocent scene caused quite a stir.
5. She Was Almost Dorothy
While casting The Wizard of Oz, Shirley’s name popped up quite a few times. Obviously, Judy Garland made the role of Dorothy Gale one of her most beloved performances instead.
Rumors are that the studio heads didn’t want to loan Shirley out to a competing company — and that her singing voice just wasn’t quite as impressive as Judy’s.
6. She Was Only 17 When She Married Her First Husband
Like many of her milestones, she was quite young when she said “I do” to actor and soldier John Agar. The couple had one daughter together, Linda, but split four years after their union.
7. Her Second Husband Wasn't A Fan Of Her Movies
That’s because, as he admitted to her, Charles Black (not Red Skelton, pictures above) simply never saw any of them!
Despite his lack of knowledge (or perhaps even because of it), the pair had two children, Charles Jr. and Lori, and remained married until his passing.
She and Charles also only dated for just two weeks before deciding to tie the knot!
8. She Remains The Youngest Oscar Honoree
In fact, she was the first performer to win the Academy Juvenile Award in 1935 at the age of 6.
By that time, Shirley had appeared in over 20 short- and full-length films.
9. She Once Held A Press Conference From A Hospital Room
Back in 1972, a time when talking so openly about one’s health seemed too intimate for public conversation, she bravely revealed her battle with breast cancer from her hospital bed.
Doing so helped relieve the stigma surrounding the topic and allowed more women to open up about their own symptoms.
10. She Was A Girl Scout
When she wasn’t starring in Hollywood films, Shirley earned her patches with fellow scouts, just like any other youngster.
Were you surprised by any of these Shirley Temple facts?
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