The littlest Republican: How Shirley Temple pranked Eleanor Roosevelt


First lady Eleanor Roosevelt visits Shirley Temple on a Hollywood sound stage in 1938.

There was a story that Shirley Temple Black, then a U.S. ambassador, enjoyed telling on chat shows in the 1970s to prove how she’d always been a Republican.

It was 1938. Shirley was 10 and for the third year the biggest box office star when the Roosevelts invited her to a barbecue at their family home, Hyde Park.

The characters Shirley played were often full of mischief. Turns out she wasn’t acting.

When the first lady turned her back, the dimple-faced child star reached into her little hand bag and took out her sling shot. She got Eleanor right in the keester with a pebble.

Eleanor screeched. Secret Service came running. Nobody realized the innocent-looking Shirley was the culprit until she laughingly told her parents about it after they left. Her Republican parents were not amused.

Black would recount the story in her autobiography, Child Star. has posted Life magazine pictures of the girl who made the country smile during the Great Depression here.