6 Big, Classic Hollywood Stars Who Little Shirley Temple Beat Out at the Box Office

02/11/2014 at 10:00 AM EST

Shirley Temple Dead: 6 Stars of Classic Hollywood She Beat at the Box Office
Clark Gable (left) and Shirley Temple on the MGM lot in 1941
Everett
Shirley Temple Black, who died Monday night at the age of 85, was the most famous child actor of her era, a successful politician, and the inspiration for a delicious drink to boot. But for those who weren't around during her heyday, what's most surprising may be exactly how big Temple was at her peak: She was Hollywood's No. 1 box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, beating out every adult star in the business, according to Quigley's annual Top Ten Moneymakers Poll.

Below, relive the highlights of these legends from the Golden Age of Hollywood, all of whom were less popular than a little girl from Santa Monica.

Clark Gable



The future Rhett Butler was the second-biggest star in Hollywood during Temple's tenure, and he knew it. "I'm afraid of Shirley Temple," he joked to a fan magazine in 1937. "She haunts me. I can see her sitting up there, shaking her curls and twinkling her eyes at me."

Bing Crosby



The crooner was America's top singer of the '30s, but his film career was slower to take off. Crosby's popularity as an actor didn't peak until 10 years after Temple's did; he took over her position atop the Quigley's star charts from '44 to '49.

Gary Cooper



The cowboy actor starred with Temple in her early film Now and Forever, but though his career would outlast hers by decades, he was never Hollywood's No. 1 draw.

Joan Crawford



With an image nearly the polar opposite of Temple's squeaky-clean goodness, the delightfully devilish Crawford thrilled audiences throughout the '30s – just not as much as the curly-haired tyke did.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers



They may have been slightly better dancers than Temple, but the ballroom duo couldn't compete with the pint-sized star at the box-office; like Gable, they were stuck behind her at the height of her popularity.

Follow PEOPLE on Facebook!




Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters