Freeze Frame: Why Shirley Temple Retired from Acting at 22
It’s not often in hollywood history that a famous actress reached the peak of her career at the age of 6.
Shirley Temple is a name you’ll probably be pretty familiar with – and not just for non-alcoholic cocktails.
The 1930s child star was the most popular child actress in the world during the Great Depression, with hit films like Little princess and Bright Eyes.
Temple is truly America’s lover. She made her film debut at the age of three in 1943 and when she was six, like Time was once reported, she had “gained a worldwide fame that no child has ever achieved”.
READ MORE: Grace Kelly’s last public appearance before swapping Hollywood for royalty
READ MORE: Bitter Hollywood feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
Her lovely blonde locks and dimples made Temple a big money maker for manufacturing companies in the 1930s.
The young star’s popularity was largely seen as a response to the woes of the Great Depression, as her innocent looks, choreography, and singing provided a welcome relief from the real world. .
At the height of her fame, before she turned 12, Temple was making $50,000 per film, which equates to about $891,350 in today’s money.
In fact, Temple’s popularity is too great, according to US Todayshe even matched Edward VIII and Franklin D. Roosevelt as the most photographed person in the world at the time.
A famous quote from Temple as an adult shows just how popular she is. “I stopped believing in Santa when I was six,” she once told a journalist.
“Mom took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”
READ MORE: The photo of Elvis Presley broke the world’s heart
After a string of box office successes (she acted in 29 films between the ages of 3 and 10), Temple’s parents decided their daughter needed to step back and go back to school at age 12.
Her parents “purchased out” the remainder of the child star’s contract at Twentieth Century Fox and sent her to an exclusive school in Los Angeles.
After a two-year hiatus, Temple was later signed by MGM for her Hollywood comeback after a stint in boarding school, but she didn’t achieve the same success for her films. in the 1940s.
Woman leaves screen at 22, says she’s ‘pretending enough’, [left] a significant footprint on the real world.
Between the ages of 14 and 21, Temple appeared in only 14 films – a sharp drop from the franchise she produced as a child.
Fan interest in Temple began to dwindle. She is no longer the curly-haired girl with pink cheeks. Now, she was a woman.
Temple, perhaps sensing the audience’s indifference, decided to officially retire from Hollywood at the age of 22.
READ MORE: Tragedy separates River and Joaquin Phoenix
Despite being young, this movie star has nearly two decades in the industry.
In 1949, Temple made his last feature film, A kiss for Corliss, at the age of 21. She played the eponymous character Corliss Archer.
The film was said to be a box office failure, despite the fact that it was Temple’s last swan in Tinseltown.
After retiring, the former child star married Charles Alden Black in 1950 and entered American politics.
Temple was known as a prominent Republican fundraiser and went on to have a successful career as an ambassador.
It was an unexpected career turning point for the once-popular actress, who was known as an ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976.
She was then appointed ambassador by President George H. W. Bush to Czechoslovakia in 1989, serving during the decline of Communism in Eastern Europe.
READ MORE: Just 18 months after this flash wedding, Sharon Tate passed away
While she never returned to the big screen, Temple tried her hand at television hosting in the 1950s and hosted an award show in 1999.
“I have one piece of advice for those who want a lifetime achievement award. Start early,” she said on stage in 2006 when she was honored by the Screen Actors Guild.
In 2014, Temple died at the age of 85 from lung disease. In tributes, she was praised for both her quickness on screen and her talent as a diplomat.
Journalist Susan Ragan wrote: “While she may always be best remembered as America’s sweetheart, the woman who left the screen at the age of 22 said she ‘pretended enough’ in the end. together leave a significant mark in the real world.”
For a daily dose of 9Honey, Subscribe to our newsletter here
Crime, murder and mystery in old Hollywood