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Shirley Jane Temple

Paternal 9th cousin, 2x removed.

Shirley Temple was one of the best known Hollywood child actors ever. Even though she came to fame almost 90 years ago, I think that it is a safe bet that even today's Millennials know who she was, she was that famous.

Born on April 23rd, 1928, Shirley was related to me through her father, George Francis Temple. Our common ancestor was my 10h Great Grandfather, Thomas Birchard (1595-1657). Thomas Birchard was Shirley's 8th Great Grandfather on her paternal side.

Known for her portrayal of upbeat characters, Shirley Temple was known and loved by generations of movie watchers. Most of Shirley's movies were a combination of musical and dance based comedies which always had a happy ending. Shirley worked with some of the biggest Hollywood names of the era, such as: Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lionel Barrymore, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Buddy Epsen, Cesar Romero and many more greats from the Silver Screen.

Shirley's upbeat movies as a child actor ran throughout the 1930's and were greatly welcomed by the public who saw these "feel good" movies as a great relief from the real-life Great Depression.

As Shirley transitioned from child to teenager, her success as an actress did not follow her. She made a few films between 1940 and 1950, but she did not see the same success as she had in the 1930's.

Shirley decided to retire from making films in 1950. 

On September 19, 1945, 17 year old Shirley had married 24 year old John Agar. Together the couple had a daughter, Linda Susan Agar, born on January 30, 1948. Their marriage was troubled however, and Shirley and John divorced on December 5, 1949. 

Shirley met her second husband, Charles Alden Black,  and the couple married on December 16, 1950. On April 28, 1952, Shirley gave birth to a son, Charles Alden Black Jr. The couple had another child, this time a daughter, Lori, who was born on April 9, 1954.

Shirley became involved with the California Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Congress in 1967. Although Shirley did not win a seat, she soon became involved in foreign service after Henry Kissinger and was later appointed as a delegate to UN General Assembly by President Richard Nixon in 1969. In 1974, Shirley was made US Ambassador to Ghana by yet another cousin of mine, President Gerald Ford. Thus began a long-running career which lasted until 1992 when she had been the US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (under President George H.W. Bush).

Shirley Temple-Black died on February 10, 2014 at the age of 85 at her home in Woodside, California.