5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Shirley Temple

On February 10, 2014, Shirley Temple died at age 85. She had a long career as one of the most popular movie stars during the Great Depression and as a diplomat in later life. Here are 5  things you probably didn’t know about Shirley Temple...


She Was the Youngest Performer to Ever Win an Oscar The Juvenile Oscar was established in 1935 to recognize performers under the age of 18 who deserved to win but would have trouble competing with their adult counterparts. Shirley Temple won the first of these awards in 1935 at age six for her role in Bright Eyes. The trophy itself was a miniature of the Oscar at seven inches tall, and was discontinued in after 1961 when it was last presented to Hayley Mills for her starring role in Pollyanna.

She Apparently Hated Her Drink A Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic mixed drink traditionally made with ginger ale and a splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Temple herself was not a fan of the drink, as she told NPR in a 1986 interview: "The saccharine sweet, icky drink? Yes, well... those were created in the probably middle 1930s by the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood and I had nothing to do with it. But, all over the world, I am served that. People think it's funny. I hate them. Too sweet!" In 1988 Temple brought a lawsuit to prevent a bottled soda version using her name from happening.


Temple Was Considered for the Part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz Temple’s name was brought up a number of times while The Wizard of Oz casting was ongoing. However, she was contracted to 20th Century Fox. The new blockbuster movie in color was being made by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Temple’s employer would not release her from her contract. In any event, it was obvious that Judy Garland had a much more impressive singing voice, and it was she who was eventually cast to play Dorothy Gale in the movie.

Fox Studios Paid the Child an Amazing Salary for That Era In 1934, Shirley Temple signed on to work for 20th Century Fox Studios after appearing in minor films. She was paid $150 a week, which was an astronomical sum equal to about $3,000 these days. She had to pay for her tap shoes herself, however. After producing such successes as Curly Top, Captain January and Poor Little Rich Girl, Temple’s salary was hiked to an astounding $1,000 per week.

She Knew a Thing or Two About Diplomacy In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed her a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. Five years later, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, and from 1989 to 1992 as President George H.W. Bush’s U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Under the leadership of President Gerald R. Ford, she became the first woman named U.S. Chief of Protocol.