The obituaries for Shirley temple Black, who passed away at the beginning of February, rarely mentioned that her brother George had been a pro wrestler. It’s a practiced story the deserves telling.

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George Francis Temple, one accountant and also banker, and also Gertrude Amelia Krieger, a homemaker, had three children, though just one came to be a worldwide child movie star.


George Temple throughout his quick professional wrestles career. Courtesy chris Swisher

Jack was born January 3, 1915, and also George Francis holy place Jr. (Sonny) came four years afterwards January 24, 1919 in Los Angeles. Their tiny sister yes, really was little compared to them; she was born ~ above April 23, 1928, making her 13 years younger than Jack and nine younger 보다 George.

While she go on come star top top such movies as Stand Up and also Cheer, Bright Eyes, The little Princess, her brothers nicknamed she “La Temple,” and the family members lived in the Brentwood Heights area the Los Angeles. Jack went to Stanford University, and also George was parcelled turn off to a Los Angeles army college complied with by the brand-new Mexico military Institute in the autumn of 1935.

But family was family, and also later Jack offered as the best man at Shirley’s first wedding to man Agar, and also George to be an water level — despite he come late because of every the traffic around Wilshire Methodist Church (an estimated 12,000 world were gathered outside).

In Shirley Temple: American Princess, writer anne Edwards talked around George: “The athlete in the Temple family had always been her brother Sonny.”

Temple contrasted her brother in her own autobiography, Child Star, released in 1988. “George, Jr., was muscular and athletic; Jack, lean and also sensitive favor his mother.”

The military school resulted in the Marines for George.

His sister’s fame to be such the the news of that signing up v the marine Corps, in October 1940 at the mountain Diego maritime Base, was in reality news. He had actually just finished his student in the first year year at Loyola College. “I was acquiring bored v civilian life,” he said at the time, “and the Marines, who always seem to it is in doing things, appealed to me.” He perfect his training in December that the very same year, and also was assigned together a mechanic. He hoped to at some point be a pilot.

“When he join the marines in march 1941, he to be over 6 feet tall, weighed two hundred ten pounds and also had aspired to it is in a professional football player,” wrote Edwards. “Before sending out him come the south Pacific, the marines had actually turned him into a very competitive amateur wrestler. After years of feeling like the non-achiever in his family, Sonny had been proud of his new accomplishment. The had battled at Pearl Harbor, and also his subsequent war record was regarded by his family with great pride.”

The attack by the Japanese top top Pearl port in December 1941 was a make the efforts time, created Shirley: “Brother George was stationed with the Marines at Ewa Plantation, a target the Japanese waiting onslaught, and for days afterwards we heard nothing from or around him. In desperation, Father finally turned directly to FBI manager Hoover, that passed word to George to contact home. Us then learned his entire company had been invite to a Japanese wedding the evening prior to the surprise attack. Exuberant top top sake and reeling homeward, George had fallen asleep on the grassy parade ground before his barracks and also under a canopy of tropical stars. With dawn come Japanese dive bombers screaming under to strafe the buildings, and setup his mess room afire. George had watched the horrifying spectacle from mid-field, propped increase on his elbow.”

Shirley holy place was a large part the the battle effort, sustaining the troops, and also she would periodically slip in a “Hello, George” to her brother on radio shows.

Like a lot of servicemen, after the war, George to be at a little bit of a loosened end. That tried to it is in the wrestles coach in ~ Santa Monica High School, his alma mater, yet he had wanderlust.


Shirley Temple’s fame was such that as soon as her brother, George, enlisted in the Marines, it was a story.

Professional wrestling was calling.

“By night he wrestled professionally, normally billed as the ‘good guy’ in tag-team matches with new colleagues choose Nebraska Wildcat and Swedish Angel,” composed his sister. “One errant weekend the slipped across the mexico border come Tijuana and married an ecdysiast dancer indigenous Detroit who had end up being a groupie rolling him from arena to arena.”

Getting the media to pay attention wasn’t hard for George Temple.

An linked Press story indigenous March 1946 talked around his chosen profession, and also his family’s distaste because that it.

“George refused suggestions that he take it a pseudonym,” reported AP. “He claimed he had actually no intentionally of capitalizing top top Shirley’s surname ‘but if the newspapers mention that edge you folks will certainly simply have to grin and also bear it."”

Indeed, the family members wasn’t on board.

“In perfect synchrony v my movie antics, brother George decided this minute to resign his project as a high school wrestling coach and also enter experienced wrestling full-time. At his debut dad sneaked right into the last row at ocean Park Arena to watch him at some point pin someone referred to as Iron fight it out Works. Rather of congratulating his child at ringside, father stamped residence in a huff, apparently an ext repelled by the totality environment than pleased through his son’s win,” composed Shirley Temple. “Mother choose up his feeling of chagrin, so ns tried to intercede. ‘Look, Mom, getting flung around is just the to chat game. There’s much more action in the ring than in part four-star movies. I’m in the business, why no him?’

“Eventually father begrudgingly accepted the inevitable, but Mother was standing irrevocably versus the entirety idea, the profession, the people, and the locations he wrestled. As soon as George filed for divorce from his wife, citing ‘extreme cruelty’ for having produced an eight-pound infant boy only six months after their wedding, mommy was quick to allude out just how right she had actually been all along.”


George holy place in the spotlight, briefly. Courtesy chris Swisher

The family life that George temple Jr. Is a little complicated. That married 4 times, very first to Florence Bruce, mom to his son, Richard Temple. Divorcing after 2 years, “Little Butch” was raised by his maternal grandparents, Virginia and also Howard Bruce. Later, George’s second union to be to Patricia Ruth. According to Edwards, it “ended in a bizarre divorce action that named another man together the father of the estranged Mrs. Temple’s five-month-old daughter, Kelly Ann.” At the moment of his pass in 1996, his mam was named Grace.

But back to the wrestling.

A Chicago regimen from September 1946 explained the 200-pound George: “His colorful wrestling, coupled with his personality which deserve to be likened to Shirley’s just in an strong way, has proven his capabilities as a wrestler.”

Like George Temple, lord James Blears had actually survived the second World War and also entered agree wrestling. “Everybody wanted to wrestle in those days, for this reason everybody saw the YMCA and also wrestled. The YMCA to be jammed with the wrestlers,” recalled Blears, speak George was good for business. “He was a good draw.”

In a feature written by Lee Dunbar the the Oakland Tribune in February 1947, he defined George together “an basic young other to interact in conversation. He looked smart as a whip and his words proved his appearance.”

George speak of his desire to make his own name. “You see, for a long time in the back of mine mind existed a yen come wrestle, and also that desire was aided along by gift referred to constantly as ‘Shirley Temple’s brother.” I want to prove to numerous people, and to myself, I might do a good job with my own talents, not since I to be the brother of a an excellent movie personality.”

It would certainly not it is in a long career, though. He was in a high-speed motorcycle accident in the Mojave Desert in January 1948 (just ~ his sister provided birth come his niece, Linda Susan). In may 1955, he was hit through a blood clot in the brain, paralyzing that on appropriate side and also costing the the strength of speech.

“Subsequently and to everyone’s apparent surprise, George regained sufficient mobility to move home, however within weeks went back to Sawtelle Veterans Hospital with an embolus lodged in his lung,” created Shirley Temple. “Recovering slowly again the went home, yet when the paralysis worsened he returned to the hospital, a seriously ill man with complicated symptoms no well understood.”

George began to present symptoms concerned multiple sclerosis: twin vision, unstable gait and also problems in coordination.

Naturally, his sister provided her fame to assist raise funds because that the nationwide Multiple Sclerosis Society, climbing to come to be National Chairman of Volunteers. It to be “the very first time she had actually become associated with a national campaign of any sort, and she found how good she was at it,” composed Edwards. “Through her work with the nationwide Multiple Sclerosis culture she had actually heard that the Soviets had developed advanced techniques for treating the disease. Sonny’s condition was swiftly deteriorating, and also by Christmas 1964 he was confined to a wheelchair.”

In a 1972 interview through the Chicago Tribune, Shirley temple Black, by climate remarried and an American diplomat, talked around her brother and her find to ease his experiencing from MS.

“He’s had actually it because 1952 and he’s paralyzed indigenous the belt down. He has a very good outlook ~ above life, and also a very an excellent wife, yet it was fairly an adjustment for him, because he to be an athlete. To go from gymnast, skilled wrestler, and also judo instructor to a wheelchair,” she said. “I’m a co-founder that the global Federation of many Sclerosis Societies. I saw Moscow in 1965, just due to the fact that I’d heard reports they’d found a cure. Lock did have actually a vaccine, it turned out, but it was investigated — there and in the joined Kingdom, as well — and found no effective. Ns look almost everywhere the world. Every country I’m in I speak to doctors about what kind of research they’re doing.”

Their parents died within a pair of years of every other; Gertrude passed far on January 1, 1977, the couple’s 64th wedding anniversary. George Sr. Passed away on October 1, 1980 at the period 92; he had been living at his daughter’s home.

George Jr. Lived until might 27, 1996, suffering from another major stroke in 1993. He to be residing in Laguna Hills, California at the time of his passing, yet died in the Veterans administration Medical center in lengthy Beach.

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“He to be a lover brother, and also I’ll miss him greatly,” stated Shirley holy place Black in ~ the time.

The genesis of the post began year ago, as a component of The pro Wrestling room of Fame: Heroes & Icons (written with Steven Johnson and Mike Mooneyham). When the asked for interview v Shirley temple Black didn’t come about, the piece on George temple for the book fell by the wayside. Still, it’s a pretty great book, if I deserve to say so!