Arguably the most famous child star ever has passed away …
This hardly seems possible … legendary child actress Shirley Temple Black has died at the age of 85. The child star known for her curly hair and dimples died of natural causes Monday night at her Woodside, California home surrounded by her family and caregivers. Shirley Temple Black lifted America’s spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and later became a U.S. diplomat.
The bright-eyed, adorable little actress was a No. 1 box-office draw in the 1930s, helping to boost America’s spirits after the Great Depression and saving the Fox studio from bankruptcy.
Shirley Temple, the enchanting singing and dancing child star with the glowing corkscrew curls who saved a Hollywood studio and helped yank America from the throes of the Great Depression, died Monday night. She was 85.
CNN: Shirley Temple Black, the former child star who later became a U.S. ambassador, has died at 85, her publicist says.
Temple began acting at age 3 and starred in four massive box-office draws before she turned 10, commanding a then-unheard of $50,000 per movie.
Her first film of notice appeared in 1932, when she played the part of the Baby Burlesks in a series of short films called “War Babies.”
For about 18 years, she sang, tap danced and acted her way into the hearts of millions.
She retired from filmmaking at 22, after marrying Charles Black and changing her last name to Temple Black.
But she did not fade from the public eye. Far from it.
She embarked on a new career as a foreign diplomat: She served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974, was U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
Shirley Temple – On The Good Ship Lollipop
FOX News: Former Hollywood child star Shirley Temple dies at 85.
Temple became a nationwide sensation. Mothers dressed their little girls like her, and a line of dolls was launched that are now highly sought-after collectables. Her immense popularity prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to say that “as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.”
“When the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time during this Depression, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles,” Roosevelt said.
She followed up in the next few years with a string of hit films, most with sentimental themes and musical subplots. She often played an orphan, as in “Curly Top,” where she introduced the hit “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” and “Stowaway,” in which she was befriended by Robert Young, later of “Father Knows Best” fame.
She teamed with the great black dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in two 1935 films with Civil War themes, “The Little Colonel” and “The Littlest Rebel.” Their tap dance up the steps in “The Little Colonel” (at a time when interracial teamings were unheard-of in Hollywood) became a landmark in the history of film dance.
Following her venture into television, Temple became active in the Republican Party in California. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully in a special election in California’s 11th congressional district to fill the seat left vacant by the death of eight-term Republican J. Arthur Younger from leukemia. She ran as a conservative and lost to law school professor Pete McCloskey, a liberal Republican who was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War.
She was appointed Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly by President Richard M. Nixon (September – December 1969), and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana (December 6, 1974 – July 13, 1976) by President Gerald R. Ford. She was appointed first female Chief of Protocol of the United States (July 1, 1976 – January 21, 1977), and was in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and inaugural ball. She served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (August 23, 1989 – July 12, 1992), having been appointed by President George H. W. Bush.