8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter
Alana "Honey Boo Boo Child" Thompson has done wonders for TLC’s ratings, but as a star, she can’t compare to Shirley Temple. Born in 1928 in Santa Monica, Temple was taking singing and dancing lessons at age 3 when a casting director spotted her. Temple was an overnight success. People couldn’t get enough of the cute, curly-haired child dancing and singing during the Depression. At her peak, Temple (who had tutors and also went to Westlake School for Girls) was the top box-office draw for four straight years; her income in 1938 was the seventh-highest in the country. Temple’s career boiled down to one magnificent decade from 1932 to 1942 — she memorably sang “On the Good Ship Lollipop” at age 6 in Bright Eyes — that only would have been better had she played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (she was MGM’s first choice, but Fox wouldn’t release her). There was a career tumble at adolescence, one failed marriage and a few bad films before she retired in 1950. But her second marriage, to businessman Charles Black, lasted 55 years until his death in 2005, and she served as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. At age 84, she still lives in the Northern California mansion she bought with Black. Honey Boo Boo can only hope to do half as well.