A natural talent
Shirlie Alice Montgomery was born on Chapman Street, San José, on June 9, 1918, to parents Rae and Madeline Montgomery. Her artistic and creative abilities blossomed at an early age; Montgomery was a talented dancer who performed with future Hollywood sister actresses Joan (Fontaine) and Olivia De Havilland. In middle school, the local newspaper published her book reviews. Recognizing his only child's interests, her father built a darkroom in their small home. In her late teens, Montgomery began keeping a daily journal; she continued this habit throughout her career to record her appointments with clients. Additionally, she created numerous photo albums of family and friends, documenting her frequent outings to Santa Cruz beach. Never married, Montgomery was known throughout her life as fun-loving and sure of her opinions. Later in life, she enjoyed sipping martinis on her front porch while umpiring neighborhood whiffle ball games, in which she inevitably had the final word. "I was about the only blond in the neighborhood and stuck out, so every time the Queen of the Fairies or the Christmas Angel was being cast, guess who got elected? I've never been able to escape the spotlight." -- Shirlie Montgomery, San José Mercury News, April 11, 1999.