Black, Shirley Temple (23 April 1928–10 February 2014), child actor and diplomat, was born Shirley Jane Temple in Santa Monica, California, the third child and only daughter of George Temple, a banker, and Gertrude Krieger Temple. Shirley's mother had longed for a baby girl, and from the moment of her birth she became her mother's "pet project." Gertrude enrolled her in Ethel Meglin's nearby dance studio when Shirley was three years old, and, beginning in December 1931, Shirley joined other Meglin dance studio children in the Baby Burlesks series made by Educational Films Corporation, where she lampooned such stars as ...
John F. Kasson
Patty S. Derrick
Friganza, Trixie (29 November 1870–27 February 1955), actress and singer, was born Brigid O’Callaghan (sometimes listed as Delia O’Callahan) in Grenola, Kansas, the daughter of Cornelius O’Callaghan and Margaret Friganza, occupations unknown. She revealed little about her parentage except that they were Spanish and Irish. She made her stage debut in 1889 as a chorus girl in a touring production of ...
Stephen G. Marshall
Loy, Myrna (02 August 1905–12 December 1993), actress and political activist, was born Myrna Adele Williams in Radersburg, Montana, the daughter of David Franklin Williams, a cattle rancher, and Della Mae Johnson, a singer. After her father’s death in the 1918 influenza epidemic, the family moved to Culver City, California. While attending high school, Loy auditioned for movie studios and helped support her family by teaching children’s dancing classes and working as an assistant film cutter at Horsley Studios. She also danced in the prefeature chorus line at Grauman’s Chinese Theater before coming under contract to Warner Brothers. Her first role was a “human chandelier” in ...
Daniel M. Cobb
Means, Russell Charles (10 November 1939–22 October 2012), Oglala/Yankton activist, American Indian Movement leader, and actor, was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the eldest son of Walter “Hank” Means (Oglala Lakota) of Pine Ridge and Theodora Louise Feather (Yankton), of the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. His father worked as an auto mechanic for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Pine Ridge. His mother served as secretary to the superintendent of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Following the matrilineal ways of the Sioux (the term used to refer collectively to the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota), Russell Means was raised by his mother’s extended family. The Means family relocated to Vallejo, California, in 1942. They moved to Huron, South Dakota, at the end of World War II, only to return to Vallejo soon thereafter, where Walter worked as a welder in the navy shipyards, and Theodora took a position as a secretary at an air force base. In 1954 the Means family bought a home in the Oakland area....
Murphy, George (04 July 1902–03 May 1992), actor, dancer, and politician, was born George Lloyd Murphy in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Michael Murphy, a university and olympic track coach, and Nora Long. In his autobiography Murphy called his family “close-knit” and “dominated by a loving father who constantly demanded the best of us.” His father died in 1913 and in 1917, at the age of fifteen he ran away from home after his mother’s death with the intention of joining the navy in order to serve in World War I. He returned shortly after, finished high school, and attended Yale University. Discontented with school, Murphy left Yale in his junior year and worked in a number of occupations from toolmaking to coal loading before his girlfriend, Julie Johnson (real name Juliette Henkel), taught him to dance....
Reagan, Nancy Davis (6 July 1921–Mar. 6, 2016), actress and first lady, was born Anne Frances Robbins in New York City, the only child of Kenneth Seymour Robbins, a car salesman who abandoned his family, and Edith Luckett Robbins, an actress. While her mother performed in a touring company, the child was raised by an aunt and uncle in Bethesda, Maryland. In ...
Portrait of Nancy Reagan, c.1981, by unknown photographer
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-ds-00126]
Laura C. Rudolph
Robins, Elizabeth (06 August 1862–08 May 1952), actress, author, and suffragist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Charles Ephraim Robins, a financier who later became a metallurgist, and Hannah Mariah Crow. After a move to Staten Island, New York, in an unsuccessful attempt to regain his failing business interests, Robins’s father was forced by severe financial difficulties to make a desperate move to Colorado to mine for metals, leaving his family in the care of his wife. In 1872, after the deterioration of her mother’s mental faculties and subsequent removal to an asylum, Elizabeth Robins and her five younger siblings were sent to live with their paternal grandmother, Jane Hussey Robins, in Zanesville, Ohio. This distinguished albeit impoverished side of the family provided Robins with a stable and refined atmosphere, enabling her to receive a superior education at the Putnam Seminary for Young Ladies in Zanesville, from which she graduated in 1880. As she developed strong interests in acting and writing, her performances and essays won praise from fellow students and teachers....