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Child Star An Autobiography Shirley Temple Black Hardcover – 1988

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Hardcover, 1988
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: McGraw Hill Book Co; 2nd Printing edition (1988)
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,997,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A very interesting book; it was hard to put down.
The Girl Who Loved Books
These books were bought for my friends and they enjoyed them tremendously.
Cheryl A. Clem
The "About the Author" piece in the back of the book just blew me away!
Cathleen M. Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on February 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like many of us, I grew up watching Shirley Temple movies, mostly on television -- no longer in theaters, they were classics in the 50s and early sixties.

I found Ms. Black to be a good writer, clear and concise, and as classy as I expected her to be. No "Mommie Dearest" here, although toward the end she is honest, but not bitter, about how the money she earned for the many, many movies (far more movies than I realized) had never made it to her adulthood as they were legally supposed to. Rather than add bitterness to an already difficult situation, though, she chose to let it go, and move on. Way to go, Shirley. Not sure I could have been so considerate -- but then again, ever the optimist and considering everyone's feelings, she had a family she was not willing to lose, and children who needed their grandparents, and uncles. Nothing was done with malice, at least not by her family. Any greed by the studio and/or government is also allowed to slide as water under the bridge. She worked her heart out, and she loved it, she considered that payment enough. At the time she was able to take that approach, she was in a good place in her life, and felt rich beyond words. Good for her, she earned the right to move forward.

I was appalled at how studio executives treated her as she moved forward in her adult career, as a woman in general, and indeed, as who she was -- an American icon! Sometimes I think there is no level low enough that some men won't stoop to... Again, she mentions it as an annoyance, but "part of the business" she had to learn to deal with. No sexual harassment claims for her -- though she certainly would have been justified!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Patrick King on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I borrowed this book from the library because I was reaserching Shirley Temple's background in tap dance. By the time I finished it I had to purchase it and add it to my private research library. There is just so much more in this biography than I ever expected. I guess it's obvious if you think about it, Shirley Temple is a very intelligent person. Part of her talent as a child came from the fact that she has a very high IQ. So the writing in the book displays humor, wisdom, and candor I just had not anticipated. Her ability to memorize lines and deliver them correctly in one take was legendary when she was a child. What maybe less well known is that she is on every top ten list of great tap dancers and she gave the practice up, at least publicly, when she was 20, a time when most dancers are just getting started. I found this autobiography unusual on several fronts: Mrs. Black is very introspective about her parents and grand parents and their relationship to who she became. This is common in biographies, but much less so in autobiographies. She is also candid about unorthodox techniques used to direct her in her early movies, and her likes and dislikes of her various directors and co-stars. As a child she had an unusual capacity for concentration which she brings to bear on her work as a writer and the details of what she recalls. Any child growing up under similar circumstances would find their egos hardboiled. Mrs. Black turns acute perception on the problems of her personality and her use of her own power that are not always complimentary. This is a true expose of what becomes of someone who is both manipulated and praised beyond their own self image. I can only think that it was her unique intelligence that got her through. The National Enquirer is filled with similar stories of the less intelligent. I'm very much looking forward to part II of these chronicles.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By bookloversfriend on August 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book provides a rare and fascinating look behind the scenes of the Hollywood motion picture industry, including the haphazard way in which "discoveries" were made, the almost ludicrous way decisions were made, etc. Shirley also relates how she was grossly cheated by Twentieth Century Fox by being nailed down to a five-year contract at $150.00 a week when a few weeks later Paramount offered to borrow her from Fox at a salary of $1000.00 per week. She goes on to quote dollars-and-cents amounts to demonstrate how she (or her mother) was repeatedly cheated, how false announcements were issued to the press as to her salary. The careful detail she goes into indicates that she (or some assistant) has done considerable "homework."

Shirley cycles from intra- and inter-studio political maneuvering to financial dealings, to candid details of other stars, to her schooling and her home life, thus keeping the story interesting and appealing to a number of different tastes. Among these are extraordinary events like two assassination attempts, visits to the White House, the governor of Massachusetts carelessly slamming a car door on her hand, etc.

The story gets more horrendous during her adolescent career. While her contract negotiations were going on at MGM, the fourteen-year-old Shirley was treated to sexual advances by the producer of "Wizard of Oz" with promises of stardom if she put out and threats of being washed up if she didn't. Her mother, meanwhile, was being subjected to the same treatment by Louis B. Mayer, the studio boss. Four years later, David O. Selznick pulled the same carrot-and-stick ploy during contract negations with his studio and on another occasion locked his office door and literally chased her around his office.
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