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...


Temple’s Perfect Curls Took a Lot of Work Poor little Shirley Temple had to sleep with her hair set in 56 carefully placed curlers every night to achieve her look for the cameras. She reportedly didn't love the hairstyle, but understand the value of her trademark look. In 1938 Temple visited the Roosevelts at their Hyde Park estate in New York. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt asked the Hollywood icon to go swimming with her, but Temple declined "because of my hair."

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 1961 after it was presented to Hayley Mills for her starring role in Pollyanna. 


Temple Was Considered for The Wizard of Oz In 1938, the producer of The Wizard of Oz, Arthur Freed held a meeting with Shirly Temple to talk about her headlining the movie. Unfortunately, the blockbuster movie was being made by MGM, and her employer 20th Century Fox refused to allow her to make the movie. In a memoir penned by Temple, she claimed that Freed exposed himself during their meeting, which further dissuaded her from taking the part. 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 in the movie. 

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.ad

She Became a Diplomat Later in Life Temple was appointed as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations by President Richard Nixon and then served under President Gerald Ford as the U.S. ambassador to Ghana. Later, she worked under President Reagan in the State Department, and was appointed the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia by President George H.W. Bush. Her one bid for an elected office was unsuccessful: Temple, a Republican, lost the race for the California seat in House of Representatives to Congressman Pete McCloskey in 1967 by around 19,000 votes.