During the 1930’s, the Great Depression was in full swing. The Depression was a period in American History when the economy was horrible. Most people did not have jobs, and if they did their paycheck was barely enough to put food on the table. At that time, many people did not experience happiness very often because of their money situations. However, there was one person who could turn any frown upside down, Shirley Temple. Shirley Temple, the best known child star of her time, ascended to unparalled box-office heights during the worst of the Great Depression, and brought humor and happiness to people in a time of great need.
Shirley Temple was born on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California at 9:00 p.m - a time significant to her because it told her she would always have a bit of catching up to do if she wanted to be on time for dinner (Black 5). As the youngest child and only girl in her family of five, she was her mother’s pride and joy. She had two supportive parents, Gertrude and George, and two older brothers, Jack and George Junior. Gertrude Temple was a stay-at-home mom while George went to work as a bank teller, which played in Shirley’s favor when she needed someone to manage her money later in life (Blashfield 55). Gertrude Temple has been called the first stage mother (Blashfield 22) for good reason. Shirley Temple was acting before she could read, so her mother helped her memorize her lines. Temple’s mother served as her private costume designer, and never failed to make the young star’s performance her best yet, by encouraging her to “Sparkle, Shirley Sparkle!” (David 2).
Shirley Temple did not go to kindergarten; so her first schooling began with private tutors hired by the studio. Frances Klampt, fondly known as “Miss Klammie”, was Temple’s first tutor who began in 1935 when Temple was seven years old. Klampt sparked Temple’s interest in worldly people by giving her assignments on everyone famous who came into the studio (Blashfield 27). She made their one-on-one lessons enjoyable by inventing imaginary people to be in their sessions with them (Blashfield 28). Another tutor, Bessie Nyi, was a student at UCLA. She taught Temple many Chinese phrases, which the politician continued to use in her later professional life. As Temple got older, acting jobs began to dwindle and she postponed her acting career to attend West Lake School for Girls in Beverly Hills which went from 7th grade through high school. Because of her excessive absences while making movies, she was not widely accepted by her peers. Temple had told her classmates she wanted to apply to Vassar for college, but in the end she decided to go back into acting and never went to college. When she graduated in June 1945, she was engaged to be married to John Agar.
Shirley Temple danced before she could walk and hummed before she could talk. At two years old, she started dancing at Meglin’s Dance Studio. Though not the best dancer, Temple worked very hard. One day she...