Life After Retirement: Shirley Temple More Than a Hollywood Icon
Though Shirley Temple was a child star that faded from the spotlight, she never ceased to be an iconic force in whatever she pursued. She had a career by the age of three and retired by the age of 22 and in a second marriage. However, as she ended her career as a United Nations representative, she had a federal employee retirement.
An American Icon
America has had many child stars over the years, but none so etched in our consciousness as Shirley Temple. With bouncy curls, pouty cheeks, an infectious smile, a sweet voice, and a remarkable ability to act, dance, and sing, Shirley exhibited an on-screen maturity and talent well beyond her years.
Born in 1928, Shirley Jane Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three. She rose to fame in 1934 with the movie Stand Up and Cheer. Between 1935 and 1938, she was Hollywood’s biggest box office attraction.
In the throes of the Great Depression, seeing a Shirley Temple movie was a noble escape and short respite from the everyday woes many people were experiencing.
President Roosevelt said, “It is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”
By 1939, Shirley’s acting career began to fade, a likely product of her disappearing youth. Shirley was considered to play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but studio head Darryl Zanuck decided against it and Judy Garland made history.
With Europe about to erupt, Shirley’s charismatic and infectious cuteness lost its mass appeal with a public focused on the serious events of the day.
At age 22, with one child and already on her second marriage, Shirley called it quits from the silver screen, aside from a few isolated forays into television. She retired from the spotlight and went on to focus on raising a family with her new husband Charles Black.
Life After Retirement: Public Service
Shirley Temple-Black represents the United States at a 1972 United Nations conference in Stockholm.
Photograph: Alain Nogues/Sygma/Corbis
For Shirley, life after retirement from Hollywood fame wasn’t the end of her working career. By the 1960’s, she was heavily involved in community affairs and politics, even making a run for Congress.
In 1967, Henry Kissinger overheard her speak on the affairs of Namibia, which lead to her appointment as the United State’s United Nations Representative.
From there, she served two ambassadorships, the first in Ghana and the second, years later, in Czechoslovakia, where she played no small part in helping Czechoslovakia shake off its communist government.
She served as White House Chief of Protocol under President Gerald Ford and was the first celebrity to make public her fight against breast cancer, giving it a national focus. She also served on the board of directors for a number of companies and charitable organizations.
A Life Filled With Grace and Dignity
Shirley Temple in 2006
Shirley Temple Black lived out her final years in California. She passed away in her home on February 10, 2014, at the age of 85, surrounded by her family.
Even to the end of her days she was the soul of dignity, having been an avid smoker her whole life, but hiding it from the public to avoid setting a bad example for her fans.
She lived a full live with grace and will always be remembered as more than just a Hollywood icon.
Share the Legacy
Shirley Temple is a great example of truly living life after retirement. Perhaps it’s time to pull that old boxed set out of the closet and watch Curly Top, Heidi, or The Little Princess with the young (or just young at heart) folks in your life.
Her life after retirement from the big stage, becoming a wife, mother, public servant, and stateswoman, is a great example of embracing the opportunities that come next. Even if your career isn’t as glitzy as Shirley’s, you share the need to prepare for your federal employee retirement.
For over 30 years, federal employee retirement planning has been a key focus of Medallion Financial Group. We recognize that FERS retirement benefits have extra layers of complexity, such as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), 401K, Pension plan, FEGLI and more. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of bad advice when so few people understand the basics. We help with the basics and beyond to enable our clients to get the education and advice they need to retire with confidence.
Our focus is twofold: first and foremost, we are fiduciary advisors. We stand against any violation of laws, values, and ethics. Second, we treat our clients as part of our family, not only those who call Maryland and Georgia home, but clients across the US who have benefited from our reputation of personal service, integrity, and expertise.
We strive to exceed client’s expectations – because we have high expectations of ourselves.