• Celebrating Shirley Temple

  • Today’s Doodle honors American actor, singer, dancer, and diplomat Shirley “Little Miss Miracle” Temple. Not only did Temple help millions of Americans through the hardships of the Great Depression as Hollywood’s top box office draw, she also later shared her charisma with the world through her work in international relations. On this day in 2015, the Santa Monica History Museum opened “Love, Shirley Temple,” a special exhibit featuring a collection of her rare memorabilia.

    Shirley Jane Temple was born on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California, and began dance classes at the tender age of three. With her signature dimples, blonde ringlet curls, and strong work ethic, she captivated the nation when she landed a role in the 1934 toe-tapping musical “Stand Up And Cheer.” Temple starred in a dozen films in 1934 alone, including “Bright Eyes,” where she performed what became one of her most famous routines “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” Before she even reached double digits in age, Temple was one of the most popular actors in American cinema—even becoming the first child star to receive an Academy Award at just six years old!

    In 1942, Temple’s unprecedented talent jumped from the silver screen to the airwaves as the star of “Junior Miss,” a radio sitcom about a teenage girl growing up in New York City. She continued to star in films throughout her teenage years, and at 22, she retired from the movie industry as a Hollywood icon. In 1958, Temple narrated the eponymous “Shirley Temple’s Storybook,” a children’s television series which adapted family-friendly stories—sometimes even filmed live. This short-lived anthology marked her final foray in American entertainment before her graceful transition into full-time public service.

    With a lifelong devotion to improving the lives of others, Temple was appointed as a representative of the U.S. to the United Nations in 1969. Her career in politics included her dedicated environmentalism, representing her nation in 1972 at the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment. In recognition of her diplomatic achievements, which included an ambassadorship to Ghana and becoming the first female Chief of Protocol to the State Department, she was appointed an Honorary Foreign Service Officer in 1988.

    In 2006, the Screen Actors Guild presented Temple with its Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization’s highest honor.

    Thank you, Shirley Temple!

    Special thanks to the family of Shirley Temple for their partnership on this project. Below Teresa Caltabiano, Temple’s granddaughter, shares her thoughts on the Doodle and her grandmother’s legacy.

    If you’ve seen a Shirley Temple movie, you have in a sense gotten to know who she was as a person. The feisty heroines she played who loved their families and who wanted to make the world a better and happier place was a reflection of her genuine character. Bright and highly intuitive, she quickly discovered that her “movie world” experience sparked in her what would become a lifelong fascination with people and the real world around her. Growing up, her character was tempered by the Depression and World War II, as was her awareness of the need to serve others. Her brother’s M.S. diagnosis and later her own mastectomy strengthened her conviction that she could have a positive effect, not only in her own family, but around the world.

    As a Special Representative to the United Nations, among other responsibilities, she took on the role as an early environmental advocate. As Ambassador to Ghana and later to the Czech Republic, the merging of her talents as a communicator and her gift for service to others gave her great personal satisfaction. Her last diplomatic position as U.S. Chief of Protocol at the White House gave her the honor of welcoming the world to the country she loved.

    At the heart of everything was her family. We were blessed to know her, her love, her courage, and her strength. She is still deeply loved and truly missed, and we treasure our memories of her.


    Pictured: Shirley Temple
    Courtesy of the Black Family Archives

    Early drafts and sketches of the Doodle below

    Source: Google