Shirley Temple, born on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California, was a renowned American actress, author, businesswoman, dancer, diplomat, and singer. She began her acting career at the age of three and quickly gained international recognition with her role in the movie Bright Eyes. From 1934 to 1938, she was Hollywood’s number one box-office draw as a child actress. Temple passed away in 2014, leaving behind an estimated net worth of $25 million. In this article, we will delve deeper into Shirley Temple’s life, career, and finances.

Early Life and Career

Shirley Temple’s mother, Gertrude Temple, encouraged her daughter to develop her talents in acting, dancing, and singing. In September 1931, Shirley enrolled in Meglin’s Dance School, where she was spotted by the casting director for Education Pictures, Charles Lamont. Lamont signed her to a contract in 1932, and Shirley landed her debut role in the feature film The Red-Haired Alibi.

Throughout the early 1930s, Shirley appeared in several successful films, including Baby Take a Bow, Stand Up and Cheer!, Little Miss Marker, and Bright Eyes. By 1934, she had become the highest-paid child actor in Hollywood, earning around $150 per week.

Acting Career

From the late 1930s to the 1940s, Shirley continued to act in successful films like Kathleen, Honeymoon, Fort Apache, and A Kiss for Corliss. She also had her own radio show titled Junior Miss, which aired on CBS from March to August 1942.

Although Shirley only earned around $5 million during her acting career, which is equivalent to $127 million in today’s dollars, she had to pay high tax brackets that could have been over 70% federally, including state income tax. It is unclear how much money Shirley received in her divorce from her second husband, Charles Alden Black, whom she was married to from 1950 to 2005.

Net Worth and Investments

Assuming Shirley invested some of her $2.5 million nest egg, her returns could have been substantial, especially considering the high inflation during the period she earned her net worth. If, for instance, she had invested $800,000 into American stocks at the end of her career in 1963, she could have earned $117.5 million by 2014, taking into account compounding returns and dividends. However, it is estimated that her investments performed at about one fifth of that return.

Ultimately, it is believed that Shirley’s net worth was around $25 million at the time of her death.

Diplomatic Career and Other Accomplishments

In the 1950s, Shirley began her diplomatic career, joining the California Republican Party. She worked for three US presidents – Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush – and served as the 9th US Ambassador to Ghana, the 18th Chief of Protocol of the US, and the 27th US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. She was also present during the Velvet Revolution and served on the boards of directors for many large organizations and enterprises, such as Walt Disney, Bank of America, Bank of California, Del Monte Foods, United Nations Association, National Wildlife Foundation, and UNESCO.

Throughout her life, Shirley won numerous awards and honors, including the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, and her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Shirley Temple was a remarkable woman who excelled in both the entertainment industry and the political sphere. From her early years as a child actor to her diplomatic career later in life, Shirley Temple was able to adapt and thrive in different industries. Her net worth of $25 million is a testament to her success, but her legacy extends beyond her financial achievements.

Shirley’s impact on Hollywood and American culture is undeniable. As one of the greatest female screen legends of America, she paved the way for future generations of child actors and actresses. Her ability to charm audiences and bring joy to millions of people around the world is what made her a beloved icon.

Moreover, Shirley’s work in politics and diplomacy is a testament to her commitment to public service. Her contributions to the US government and the international community have left a lasting impact that continues to be felt today.

In conclusion, Shirley Temple’s net worth of $25 million is just one aspect of her remarkable life and career. She was a talented actress, a savvy businesswoman, and a dedicated public servant. Her legacy as an entertainment icon and a diplomatic trailblazer continues to inspire and captivate people around the world.