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1930s & Earlier / Shirley Temple 1939 Assassination Attempt
On Christmas Eve 1939, child movie star Shirley Temple was appearing on a live radio show in Los Angeles which was both a charity benefit and a means of promoting her new feature movie The Blue Bird. While singing one of the songs from the film, a woman in the audience stood up and pulled a handgun from her purse. Shirley saw the gun and remarkably continued singing--albeit a little bit off key. The woman was subdued and luckily never fired her gun. Police learned that the deranged woman believed that Shirley had 'stolen the soul' of her daughter. Apparently the woman had given birth to a girl on April 23, 1929, but the baby died not long after being delivered. The woman--who was obviously mentally ill--discovered that Shirley Temple was allegedly born on that same day. Employing twisted logic, the woman convinced herself that killing Shirley would be an act of vengeance. Shirley correctly pointed out in her autobiography that the woman had gotten her birth date wrong. Shirley was actually born in 1928. Shirley's mother, Gertrude, had lopped a year off her age to make it appear she was younger than she actually was. Shirley herself was unaware of her correct birth date until she was nearing her birthday in 1941. Only then did her mother tell her she was actually going to be 13 years old instead of 12.