In the 1935 film The Little Colonel, Shirley Temple tap-danced down a staircase with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and into the hearts of millions. The curly-haired, dimple-cheeked child sang sweetly of life on the good ship Lollipop, but Temple’s real life was anything but smooth sailing. From the first time she appeared on the screen in 1932, she was mistreated and abused both psychologically and sexually. Hollywood tried to hide the flagrant abuses, but many have been well-documented.
Before she retired at the age of 22 in 1950, Temple made dozens of Hollywood films. To accomplish this, she constantly had to fight off lecherous Hollywood moguls who forced themselves on her. On top of that, her first husband cheated on her repeatedly, and her father spent the fortune she had earned without her knowledge or consent. Despite living a life filled with turmoil, Temple wrote in her memoir, Child Star: An Autobiography, that she emerged from this series of traumatic events unscarred. Hollywood is full of tragic stories, but this one thankfully has a happy ending.