by Jim McAllister
The shelf life of the average child movie star is limited. Perhaps that is why we always refer to these kids with a "Whatever happened to so and so?" attitude. It is rare for child actors to continue their stardom into adulthood.
The reasons for this are probably multiple: These kids are so cute and talented that by the time they get older, audiences don’t think that they are a big deal anymore doing the same things at a later age that they did when they were younger. They may also try different roles that aren’t accepted as they grow up, or they just tire of the whole routine and want out.
That was the case with Shirley Temple (b. 1928). She was the darling of the movies during the 1930's and was responsible for pulling financially ailing Fox Studios out of the red during the Depression years. By age twelve in 1940, her Fox contract was not renewed although she had made 44 movies between 1932 and 1940. She made 13 films between 1940 and 1949 but she knew the end had come. After a failed marriage to actor John Agar she married Charles Black in 1950 and went on to a career in public service and motherhood. Today she is happily retired in Woodside, California.