Shirley Temple is an American film and television actress, autobiographer, and public servant. She began her screen career in 1932 at the age of three, and, in 1934, skyrocketed to superstardom in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Academy Award in February 1935, and blockbusting super hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid to late 1930s. Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Her box office popularity waned as she reached adolescence and she left the film industry at the age of twelve to attend high school. She appeared in a few films of varying quality in her mid to late teens, and retired completely from the silver screen in 1950 at the age of twenty-one. She was the top box-office draw four years in a row in a Motion Picture Herald poll.
In 1958, Temple returned to show business with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. She made guest appearances on various television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released. She sat on the boards of many corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for United States Congress, and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989. In 1988, she published her autobiography, Child Star. Temple is the recipient of many awards and honors including Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
In 1945, seventeen-year-old Temple married Army Air Corps sergeant John Agar, who, after being discharged from the service, entered the acting profession. The couple made two films together before Temple divorced him on the grounds of mental cruelty in 1949. She received custody of their daughter Linda Susan and the restoration of her maiden name in the process. In January 1950, Temple met the conservative scion of a patrician California family and United States Navy Silver Star recipient Charles Alden Black. She married him in December 1950 following the finalization of her divorce and retired from films the same day, to become a homemaker. Her son, Charles Alden Black, Jr. was born in 1952 and her daughter, Lori Alden Black was born in 1954.
Weighing six pounds eight ounces, Shirley Temple was delivered without complications on Monday April 23, 1928, at the Santa Monica Hospital in Santa Monica, California by Dr. Leonard John Madsen to George Francis Temple and his wife Gertrude Amelia Krieger Temple.