Shirley Temple

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Shirley Temple (1928-2014) is arguably the most famous child actress in film history.

She was very popular during the desperate times of The Great Depression, but those viewing her films today are more likely to have a reaction of Tastes Like Diabetes due to Values Dissonance. The racism of The Littlest Rebel (Shirley's character is shown in blackface at one point) is also startling to a modern audience.

Temple's star guttered out as she entered her late teens and early twenties, and she finally left Hollywood. After marrying her second husband, Temple entered politics, serving terms as chief of protocol and the U.S. ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

For some reason, characters based off her tend to be Spoiled Brats. Careful not to confuse her with Darla Hood.


Shirley Temple provides examples of the following tropes:

Her admirers—middle-aged men and clergymen—respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire.

  1. Including Bright Eyes, the first movie written specifically with her in mind.