Child Star : An Autobiography

by Shirley Temple

Hardcover, 1988




New York : McGraw-Hill, c1988.


Shirley Temple Black, child star of the 1930s and 1940s, tells the story of her life as an actress.

User reviews

LibraryThing member EowynA
An autobiography from one of the premier child stars of the motion picture industry. She has a remarkable memory, clearly augmented by written sources most people don't have of their own childhoods. But more than merely facts, she conjures up the feelings and reactions of herself as a child to some pretty famous people. She wasn't perfect, and her natural joy, verve, and ebullient personality was clearly an asset most of the time, but she is honest about its pitfalls, as well. She draws interesting portraits of the famous people of her youth, such as the studio heads, actors and actresses she co-starred with, and even political figures.

As an author, she has an engaging turn of phrase, and the occasional indelicate reference, such as to a producer and his (incorrect) assumptions, is presented so diplomatically that I had to read it twice to be sure I really understood.

She refers to places that are right around the corner from where I currently live, such as her early years at Fox studios, and the area of Fox Hills, where some of her movies were filmed. The character of those sites has changed, but the setting still feels familiar.

I found the book to be interesting, detailed, and worth reading.
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LibraryThing member aspirit
The famous child film star was mostly dimpled smiles on screen, but the life Shirley Temple Black describes in her book was grimmer. As a star, she maneuvered around threats with innocence that sounds shocking in retrospect. As an adult, innocent didn't save her from abusive alcoholics. She moved past them more painfully to become a U.S. ambassador and representative to the United Nations.… (more)
LibraryThing member JulieLogan
I've read A LOT of biographies & memoirs set during the golden era of Hollywood so I thought this was a very interesting book. I enjoyed all the anecdotes about various celebrities. I had read a bio of Lionel Barrymore so I had heard that story from his perspective. I liked getting her side of the story. She meet just about anyone who was anyone! And shooting Eleanor Roosevelt on the butt with her slingshot was pretty funny.
I still can't get over what a talented dancer she was at such an early age. She must have a genius IQ. Also, that horrible black box punishment she recounts receiving at the age of 4 must have also helped her growth as an entertainer. Harsh but effective on her! I never really understood why Zanuck was so against Shirley. I need to read his biography to find out why, I guess. It made me wonder what would have happened to her career if it had been nurtured.
By the end of the book I was actually rooting for her to retire. After all the creepy sexual harassment (I will never be able to watch an Arthur Freed movie without thinking about him exposing himself to Shirley when she was 12!) and the terrible scripts and the lack of financing due to the rise of tv & the fall of the studio system & how her family just totally leeched off of her & took all her money....I would chose to leave the industry too. She seems to have lived through her famous childhood without becoming a bitter drunk. I don't think I would have reacted so sanguinely to my dad stealing all my money!
I would like to read a memoir about her political career as an adult. She is still alive - who knows? maybe she is writing one.
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LibraryThing member HarperKingsley
I read this a few years back and found it to be an incredibly fascinating look into the life of Shirley Temple. It showed me some of the realities of life in movies during the early years of Hollywood and how child actors and actresses were treated.

Also, from the time I was a little girl, I loved watched the Shirley Temple movies. So it was kind of nice to grow up and see how her life really was and why she stepped away from the big screen. From cute little Shirley Temple, to super admirable Shirley Temple-Black. This was one of the best autobiographies that I have ever read, and I liked the honesty of her "voice."… (more)



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