John Agar, who as an Air Force sergeant married Shirley Temple and later became an actor, mostly in westerns and war movies, died on Sunday in Burbank, Calif. He was 81.
Mr. Agar was a 24-year-old physical training instructor at March Field at Riverside, Calif., in 1945 when a friend arranged for him to escort Ms. Temple, then a 16-year-old child star, to a Hollywood party given by her boss, David O. Selznick.
A romance ensued, and against her mother's wishes, the two became engaged. Their wedding was a Selznick production, full of celebrities.
The pair appeared together in two films, ''Fort Apache'' and ''Adventure in Baltimore.''
Ms. Temple gave birth to a daughter, Susan, in 1948, but, troubled by his excessive drinking and many flirtations, she filed for divorce in 1949.
Mr. Agar continued acting in westerns like ''She Wore a Yellow Ribbon'' and ''Along the Great Divide,'' and in war movies like ''Sands of Iwo Jima'' and ''Breakthrough.''
John Wayne, who appeared with him in ''Fort Apache'' and ''Sands of Iwo Jima,'' tried to revive Mr. Agar's career by casting him in ''The Undefeated,'' ''Chisum'' and ''Big Jake.''
His divorce from Ms. Temple and his alcoholism, which led to arrests for drunken driving, lowered his appeal. He later made unmemorable movies with titles like ''Revenge of the Creature,'' and ''Tarantula.''
Mr. Agar, who eventually joined Alcoholics Anonymous, appeared in his last major film in 1976, the remake of ''King Kong.'' In later years he sold insurance and real estate.
In 1951, he married Loretta Combs, a model; she died in 2000. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his sons Martin and John III; two brothers, Frank and James; and four grandchildren.