Movie Stars: Temple, Shirley–Dwindling and End of Screen Career

After her departure from Twentieth Century-Fox, Shirley Temple was signed by MGM for her comeback.








The studio made plans to team her with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney for the Andy Hardy series, but the idea was dropped.  The plan to team her with Garland and Rooney for the musical Babes on Broadway was also abandoned due to fear that MGM’s youth stars would upstage Temple.

She made only one film for Metro, Kathleen in 1941, a story about an unhappy teenager. The film was a failure, and her MGM contract was canceled by mutual consent.

Her mother Annie Rooney then tried to get a contract at United Artists in 1942, but was unsuccessful.

Temple retired from films for almost two years, presumably in order to focus on school and activities.

In 1944, David O. Selznick signed Temple to a four-year contract. She appeared in two successful wartime, though neither depended solely on her. Since You Went Away was an ensemble driven picture, headed by Claudette Colbert and Joseph Cotton, and I’ll Be Seeing You.

Selznick, however, became romantically involved with Jennifer Jones and lost interest in Temple’s career.

Temple was then lent to other studios, where she made several decent, but not great, appearances: Kiss and Tell, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and Fort Apache.

Biographer Robert Windeler noted that her 1947–1949 films neither made nor lost money, but “had a cheapie B look about them and indifferent performances from her.”

Selznick suggested that she move abroad, gain maturity as an actress, and even change her name. He warned her that she was typecast, and her career was in perilous straits.

After unsuccessfully auditioning for the role of Peter Pan on Broadway stage in August 1950, she announced on December 16, 1950.