Friday, April 23, 2010

Shirley Temple

From beloved child actress to Ambassador, Shirley Temple is one of the most celebrated persons of all time.

Shirley Jane Temple was born April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California to George Francis Temple, a bank employee and Gertrude Amelia Krieger, a housewife.

Early in 1931, Mrs. Temple took the first steps in bringing her daughter to the screen. She was convinced her three-year-old daughter had exceptional talent. She enrolled her daughter in the highly competitive Meglin's Dance School in Los Angeles, California on the Mack Sennett lot for twice weekly dance lessons.

Shortly after Shirley Temple's third birthday, Educational Pictures planned a series of one-reelers called Baby Burlesks to compete with the popular Our Gang comedy shorts. Charles Lamont, a film director with Educational, conducted a talent search among the children at the Meglin School, found Temple hiding behind a piano, and encouraged her to audition for the series. She did, and was signed to a two-year contract in January 1932 at $10 a day.

Shirley Temple made her screen debut in 1932 in the film Runt Page. Her first spoken screen line was "Mais oui, mon cher" in War Babies (1932). Shirley's first on screen tap dance and song, "She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage", occurred in Glad Rags to Riches (1933).

In Bright Eyes (1934) she introduced what would become her signature song "On the Good Ship Lollipop."

In 1935, she became the youngest person to receive an Academy Award when she was honored with the Juvenile Oscar. A month later, she added her foot and hand prints to the forecourt at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

At the age of 6, she was the youngest presenter at the Oscars ever. She presented the "Best Actress" award in 1935. The winner was Claudette Colbert.

By the time Shirley Temple was ten years old, she had appeared in more than fifty shorts and films including Little Miss Marker (1934), Curly Top (1935), and Captain January (1936).

As a young adult, Shirley Temple appeared in films such as The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), Fort Apache (1948), and The Story of Seabiscuit (1949).

Shirley Temple retired from the silver screen at the age of after appearing on The Red Skelton show in 1963.

Shirley Temple now turned her attention to politics. She became active in the Republican Party in California, where, in 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives.

In 1967, Shirley Temple was appointed Representative to the 24th General Assembly of the United Nations by President Richard M. Nixon.

From 1974 to 1976, Shirley Temple served as the United States Ambassador to Ghana.

In 1976, Shirley Temple was appointed the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States and was in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter's inauguration and inaugural ball.

From 1989 to 1992, she served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.

Shirley Temple has also served on numerous boards of directors of large enterprises and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte, Bank of America, the Bank of California, BANCAL Tri-State, Fireman's Fund Insurance, the United States Commission for UNESCO, the United Nations Association, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Shirley Temple is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Life Achievement Award from the American Center of Films for Children, the National Board of Review Career Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Of all of Shirley Temple's accomplishments, she is most proud of her children and grandchildren.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spencer Tracy

Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was born on April 5, 1900 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of John Edward Tracy and Caroline Brown.

At the age of 17, Spencer Tracy enlisted in the Navy after the American entry into World War I.

Following the war, Spencer Tracy enrolled at Ripon College. While touring with the Ripon debate team, he auditioned for and was accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Spencer Tracy made his Broadway debut as a robot in Karel ńĆapek's R.U.R. (1922), followed by five other Broadway plays in the 1920s. In 1930, Spencer Tracy appeared in the hit Broadway play The Last Mile. Director John Ford saw Spencer Tracy's performance and signed him to appear in Up the River (1930).

During the next five years, Spencer Tracy appeared in over 25 films such as Disorderly Conduct (1932), The Painted Woman (1932), 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), Dante's Inferno (1935), Riffraff (1936), and Fury (1936).

In 1936, Spencer Tracy was cast to play Father Mullin in San Francisco and earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

In 1937 and 1938, Spencer Tracy became the first person to win consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor first for Captains Courageous and second for Boys Town. (Tom Hanks is only the second actor to accomplish the same feat.)

Spencer Tracy would also receive Academy Award nominations for Father of the Bride (1950), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Old Man and the Sea (1958), Inherit the Wind (1960), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), and posthumously for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). Tracy and Laurence Olivier share the record for the most nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Spencer Tracy also appeared in Libeled Lady (1937), Test Pilot (1938), Boom Town (1940), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), Tortilla Flat (1941), A Guy Named Joe (1942), Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), The Actress (1955), The Last Hurrah (1958), and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).

In 1941, while filming Woman of the Year, Spencer Tracy met and fell in love with Katharine Hepburn. They would remain together until his death in 1967. Katharine Hepbun and Spencer Tracy made nine movies together: Woman of the Year (1941), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Without Love (1944), Sea of Grass (1944), State of the Union (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), Desk Set (1957) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1967.

Spencer Tracy died on June 10, 1967 at the age of 67 of a heart attack.