Updated: Tue, 23 Apr 2013 08:45:00 GMT | By Maureen O'Hare
Birthday Special: Shirley Temple

Later movies and retirement

Shirley Temple (© Moviestore Collection/Rex Features)
  • Shirley Temple (© Rex Features)
  • Shirley Temple, child star (© Rex Features)
  • Shirley Temple with Shirley Temple doll (© Rex Features)
  • Shirley Temple (© Moviestore Collection/Rex Features)
  • Marriage of John Agar and Shirley Temple (© Rex Features)
  • Shirley Temple and Charles Alden Black (© AP)
  • Shirley Temple and family (© AP)
  • Shirley Temple with Shirley Temple dolls, 1958 (© AP)
Moviestore Collection/Rex FeaturesShow Thumbnails
Previous4 of 11Next
Share this Gallery

The first Temple film to show a slump in ticket sales was Just Around the Corner (1938). In what was possibly a fatal move, Twentieth Century-Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck declined a substantial offer from MGM to star Temple as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and cast her instead in Susannah of the Mounties, her last money-maker for the company. The film was a comparative flop and dropped Temple from number one box-office favourite in 1938 to number five in 1939.

After two more Twentieth Century-Fox flops, Temple's parents bought out the rest of her contract. At the studio, Temple's bungalow was renovated and the building reassigned as an office complex. Within a year, Temple had signed to MGM, but plans were quickly dropped to team her with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes on Broadway (1941) as it was realised the waning star might be easily outshone by her all-singing, all-dancing co-stars. She continued making films through the 1940s but never recaptured the success of her '30s heyday and, on 16 December 1950, she announced her official retirement from movies.