Shirley Temple's Santa Monica Estate Once Sold For $2.5 Million

It’s no surprise that homes bought by actors during the golden age of Hollywood sell for an astronomical amount of money today. Shirley Temple‘s first home is no exception, even though she didn’t live there long.

Although it’s a modest bungalow, a few years ago it sold for millions of dollars. But Temple didn’t get to live in that neighborhood for very many years. When she was still very young, her family had to move to keep her safe.

Shirley Temple’s first home

Yahoo reports that Temple was born in 1928, and at the time, the family lived in a small stucco bungalow in Santa Monica. They had two sons, but her mother was determined to have a daughter, certain that she could make her a star. She clearly knew what she was doing, because Temple became one of the most famous child stars in the history of Hollywood.

By the time she was five years old, the family had outgrown their small house. They decided to move into a larger home. They must have been fond of their neighborhood, however, because they didn’t go far. The new house was only a few blocks away. 

Then Temple’s career took off, and her fame impacted them in ways they didn’t expect. Although it was an exciting time, serious problems appeared. Soon, the Temple family faced issues that would force them to move again. 

Kidnapping fears

As Temple’s fame grew, not all of the attention she received was positive. Some of her fans became intrusive. People gathered in crowds outside her home. Not content to gawk from the sidewalk, some peeked in her windows or knocked on the front door, hoping to catch a glimpse of the little star. 

According to Purple Clover, in 1936, the family had a scare that made security a priority. Temple had recently starred in Poor Little Rich Girl, in which she was nearly kidnapped. Apparently inspired by the movie, a 16-year-old who worked at a grocery store in Atlanta sent Temple’s parents a threatening letter. The letter said that Temple would be kidnapped if her family didn’t send money. 

Although the would-be kidnapper was quickly captured, the family realized that they needed more security to ensure Temple’s safety. They moved to Brentwood, an area in Los Angeles. There, they found a home that was hidden from the road and concealed by Will Rogers’ polo grounds.

Their new home had every security system feature that was available at the time. The highly advanced system included a direct connection to the police station, as well as a photoelectric eye that was trained on her bedroom door at all times. 

Decades later, her first home is still remembered

Although she didn’t live there long, Temple’s first house in Santa Monica is still valued by fans. Perhaps that contributed to its price when it sold for $2.5 million in 2014. The sale took place after only two weeks on the market. Although the home reportedly looks much different than it did when she lived there, it’s still remembered as her original house.

In an unusual coincidence, just a few months after the sale, Temple died at 85 years old. It’s unlikely that she was aware of the sale because the house hadn’t been owned by her family for decades.

Temple’s fame made it impossible for her to stay in the neighborhood she was born in. But many years later, her fame was still felt there, and it elevated the small, modest house she once called home. 

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