Hollywood's biggest little star, Shirley Temple (later, Shirley Temple-Black), started in the movie business when she was only 3 years old, launching a career that would lead President Franklin D. Roosevelt to say, "As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right."
Like many other child stars who made it into adulthood just fine, Temple-Black's transition from celebrity kid to well-adjusted adult was due much in part to her mother, who insisted on always being present, both on set and in making sure her daughter didn't succumb to the spoils of the industry. Temple-Black grew up to become not only AFI's 18th greatest female American screen legend, but after retiring from Hollywood at age 22, the littlest rebel went on to successes outside of the film industry.
In 1938 when she was just 10 years old, Congress suspected her of being a Communist sympathizer; and just about 30 years later, in 1967, she ran for but failed to win a congressional seat in California. Nixon appointed her representative in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations in 1969, and later she went on to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 (to 1976), followed by an ambassadorship to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
Author's Note: 10 Child Stars Who Grew Up Just Fine
It was actually really difficult to narrow down the list of former child stars who turned out just fine. I came close to including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mayim Bialik, Jonathan Ke Quan and some of the kids from "The Cosby Show"; they could all arguably be included in this list, but I only had ten spots! The two I absolutely positively wanted to include? Shirley Temple and Wil Wheaton. No question about that.
More Great Links
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Harvey Weinstein was the first to fall from grace, but Stuff They Don't Want You To Know examines the other sex scandals rocking Hollywood.