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Shirley Temple was a legendary child star known for her charming characters

Born April 23

by Legacy Staff

Shirley Temple charmed moviegoers with her adorable curls and dimple – and her precocious singing, dancing, and acting skills. She was one of the top child stars of all time, helming hit movies including “Curly Top,” “The Littlest Rebel,” and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.” As she grew up, Temple proved she possessed much more than just box office appeal: She became ambassador to Ghana and, later, Czechoslovakia, and she was the first female chief of protocol of the United States. A breast cancer survivor, she was one of the first prominent women to speak out about her experiences with the disease and to publicize information about her radical mastectomy. We remember Temple’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including labor leader Cesar Chavez.

1960: Steve Clark, English musician who was co-lead guitarist for Def Leppard, is born in Hillsborough, England.


1957: Jan Hooks, U.S. actress known best as a “Saturday Night Live” cast member from 1986 to 1991, is born in Decatur, Georgia.

Jan Hooks (Everett Collection)Hooks was seen on “30 Rock” and “The Simpsons.” She was a member of The Groundlings in Los Angeles before joining “Saturday Night Live,” where she made a name for herself portraying characters such as Bette Davis, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kathie Lee Gifford, and others. Read more

1947: Glenn Cornick, English bassist who was a founding member of the British band Jethro Tull, is born in Barrow-in-Furness, England.

1943: Hervé Villechaize, French-American actor well-known for portraying Tattoo on the TV series Fantasy Island, is born in Paris, France.

1942: Sandra Dee, U.S. actress whose popular films include “Imitation of Life,” “Gidget,” and “A Summer Place,” is born in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Dee was born to play the ingénue. With her cute-as-a-button features and her petite figure, she was the picture of wide-eyed innocence (rather than bedroom-eyed sensuality). Again and again, she played the cutie pie. Typecast? Probably. But she played the role so perfectly that it’s hard to get too upset about it. Read more

1941: Ray Tomlinson, U.S. computer programmer who created the first email program, is born in Amsterdam, New York.

1939: Ray Peterson, U.S. singer who had hit songs with “Tell Laura I Love Her” and “Corrine, Corrina,” is born in Denton, Texas.

A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and a friend to Elvis Presley, Peterson was a frequent inhabitant of the Top 40 charts in the late 1950s and early ’60s. He created his own record label, Dunes Records, though he also recorded for RCA Victor and MGM Records. In his later years, Peterson became a Baptist minister – but we remember him best for songs like the bouncy “Corinne, Corinna” and the tear-jerking “Tell Laura I Love Her.” Read more

1936: Roy Orbison, U.S. singer-songwriter and rock ‘n’ roll icon, with legendary songs including “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Running Scared,” and “Only the Lonely,” is born in Vernon, Texas.

Videos from some of Orbison’s early performances show a shy, staid, almost motionless performer, with Orbison’s mouth barely seeming to move as he sang his songs’ poignant and often painful lyrics. The audience was just as still. In those days, his swept-back pompadour (his almost white hair was always dyed black) was more elaborate than the ponytail or bangs he had later, but he was already in his trademark black and thick-lensed dark glasses. Toward the end of his career, he was much looser onstage, as were his enthusiastic listeners. Read more

1932: Halston, born Roy Halston Frowick, U.S. fashion designer who was very popular in the 1970s for his minimalist, ready-to-wear designs, is born in Des Moines, Iowa.

1928: Shirley Temple, U.S. actress known for her work as a child star in the 1930s, who went on to become U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, is born in Santa Monica, California.

Shirley Temple (AP Photo/File)A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America’s top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, and Joan Crawford. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranking of the top-50 screen legends ranked Temple at No. 18 among the 25 actresses. She appeared in scores of movies and kept children singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” for generations. Read more

1921: Warren Spahn, U.S. professional baseball player who was a left-handed pitcher with the Boston-Milwaukee Braves, is born in Buffalo, New York.

Confined to a wheelchair but as crusty as ever, Warren Spahn had one complaint when his bronze statute was unveiled outside Turner Field in August 2003. “That nose is a little too big,” baseball’s winningest left-handed pitcher said, his face breaking into that familiar smirk. “But it won’t be Spahn’s hawk-like nose that fans notice as they pass by en route to future Braves games,” according to his obituary, which predicted that fans instead would remember Spahn’s “right foot shooting skyward forever in his classic high-kick pitching delivery.” Read more

1921: Janet Blair, U.S. actress whose movies include “My Sister Eileen” and “Tonight and Every Night,” is born in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

She appeared opposite George Raft in the gangster movie “Broadway” and co-starred with Cary Grant and a dancing caterpillar in the 1944 comedy-fantasy “Once Upon a Time.” She was the love interest in “The Fabulous Dorseys,” starring bandleaders Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, and appeared opposite Red Skelton in the 1946 sleeper hit “The Fuller Brush Man.” But after the 1948 swashbuckler “The Black Arrow,” Columbia dropped her, and she turned her back on Hollywood, moving on to theater and television. “All I got were princess parts,” she said then. “A girl gets tired of being a princess all of the time.” Read more

1917: Dorian Leigh, U.S. model who is considered one of the first supermodels, who was an inspiration for the character Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” is born in San Antonio, Texas.

Dorian Leigh (FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Leigh began her modeling career at a major fashion agency run by Harry Conover. She appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, including Look, McCall’s, and Harper’s Bazaar, and worked with renowned photographers including Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Irving Penn. She was among the first models who signed with Ford Agency. In 1997, founder Eileen Ford told The Free Lance-Star in Virginia that Leigh was “truly the best model of our time.” Read more

1891: Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer whose popular works include “Peter and the Wolf” and the ballet “Romeo and Juliet,” is born in Sontsovka, Russian Empire.

1858: Max Planck, German physicist who won a Nobel Prize in physics for origination quantum theory, is born in Kiel, Duchy of Holstein.

1813: Stephen A. Douglas, U.S. politician who represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate from 1847 to 1861 and famously debated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858, is born in Brandon, Vermont.

1791: James Buchanan, U.S. politician who was the 15th president of the United States, serving from 1857 to 1861, is born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including labor leader Cesar Chavez.

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