Article updated: 2/11/2014 6:57 AM

Shirley Temple: Crying on cue was method acting

Shirley Temple, the curly-haired child star who put smiles on the faces of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85. Publicist Cheryl Kagan says Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died surrounded by family at her home near San Francisco.

Shirley Temple, the curly-haired child star who put smiles on the faces of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85. Publicist Cheryl Kagan says Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died surrounded by family at her home near San Francisco.

 

Associated Press File Photo/1936

Shirley Temple, who was born in 1928 and began acting at the age of 3, appeared in “Poor Little Rich Girl” when she was 8. She died at the age of 85.

Shirley Temple, who was born in 1928 and began acting at the age of 3, appeared in "Poor Little Rich Girl" when she was 8. She died at the age of 85.

 

Associated Press File Photo/1936

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By Associated Press

As a child actress, Shirley Temple was noted for being able to cry on cue for a movie scene. In a 1999 interview, she explained how she did it:

"I guess I was an early method actress. I would go to a quiet part of the sound stage with my mother. I wouldn't think of anything sad, I would just make my mind a blank. In a minute I could cry. I didn't like to cry after lunch, because I was too content."

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The talent came in handy when she was 21 and driving up Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu in her new red convertible with leather upholstery. The Highway Patrol stopped her for speeding.

As the officers approached her car, she remembers telling herself: "You're an actress. Cry!" She did, and the officers were so sympathetic they escorted her back to her home.

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