Shirley Temple's Secret Autobiography Shines A Light On Her Troubled Career

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Shirley Temple's Secret Autobiography Shines A Light On Her Troubled Career


Shirley Temple dazzled audiences around the world with her singing and dancing, but behind the scenes life as a child star was anything but glamorous.

Temple already set the record straight in her 1988 autobiography Child Star, but a new second volume to her best-seller, written before her death in 2014, promises even more details about her career.

Pageant Stars USA

Temple's son, Charles Black Jr., revealed his mother wrote a sequel to Child Star focusing on her adult life as a diplomat, but movie fans are hoping to learn even more about Temple's film career when the book is released later this year.

The actress, who wrote that "biographies of me have usually been compiled from old newspaper clips [and] untruthful publicity stories," set out to reveal what life was really like on the set of her films. And it wasn't pretty.

"Being a starlet was difficult, and I was a starlet from three-and-a-half to five years of age," she explained.


Temple remembered that she and other child actors were put in "the box" when they misbehaved. The time-out area was a sound department box with a chilly block of ice dumped inside.

"[I was] in the dark with the door closed. I got a lot of earaches, styes, a lot of problems from it. The lesson was time is money. And it's work, not play," Temple wrote.

Even as an adult, Temple's childhood in Hollywood came back to bite her in a surprising way.

In Child Star, Temple explored every aspect of her troubled career, including her marriage to actor John Agar when she was just 17.

Temple, Agar, and their daughter Linda.Hulton Archive

Temple remembers Agar as an unhappy drunk who cheated on her, and says she regrets rushing in to marriage as a teenager. "I had marriage on the brain," she remembers.

Not long after, Temple retired from show business (at just 22 years old) and settled down with her second husband, Charles Black. But the happy couple found their nest egg had been stolen.

Temple's father had wasted more than $3 million from her film career on bad investments, leaving the actress with just $44,000 to her name.

Temple as the American ambassador to the U.N.Federal Navigators

But the talented actress manged to reinvent herself as a diplomat, after working on Richard Nixon's presidential campaign. Her career representing America took her from the U.N., to Ghana, and even Czechoslovakia.

That period, which Temple called her "third life," will be explored more in Temple's new book.


"I've led three lives," the star said. "The acting part, wife and mother, and international relations. I'm proud of my career, the first one, and I'm proud of the other two."

But the new book reveals Temple isn't so proud of the famous drink that shares her name.

"She told me if you drink them you'd get diabetes because of all of the sugar," Temple's friend Barry Barsamian remembers. Instead, Temple was fond of a "Shirley Temple Black," which is a Black Russian with added vodka.

Do you remember watching her classic movies?

[H/T: Closer Weekly]

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