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Shirley Temple, Beloved Child Star, Dies At 85

Shirley Temple, Beloved Child Star, Dies At 85

02/11/2014

Shirley Temple Black, who rose to fame as a child Hollywood star, died at the age of 85 on Monday, Feb. 10 of natural causes.

Temple Black was with family and caregivers in her California home when she died.

“We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and adored wife for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black,” the family said in a statement.

Shirley Temple: A Childhood Superstar

Shirley Temple became a household name in the 1930s when she was barely five years old. With her sweet singing voice and her talent for tap dancing, Temple Black quickly became one of the most celebrated stars of her time. Known for her trademark dimples and ringlet curls, Temple Black stared in countless Depression era classics, such as Bright Eyes (1934), The Little Colonel (1935) and Heidi (1937). Audiences loved Temple Black and her cheerful on-screen persona.

“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,” President Franklin Roosevelt said of the star.

As Temple Black got older and began adolescence, her career opportunities became scarce. Temple’s fame was tied to her the public’s view of her as a smiling child. She even had a non-alcoholic drink named after her, the Shirley Temple, which originated in Los Angeles restaurant, The Brown Derby, and is comprised of a lemon-lime soda with grenadine and a maraschino cherry.

Audiences were hesitant to accept the little girl darling as a young woman and Temple Black retired from Hollywood when she was twenty. She had a few small roles in films as a young adult, including playing Henry Fonda’s young daughter in the Western Fort Apache (1948) also staring John Wayne, but she never attained the same level of adoration as she had as a child.

Shirley Temple Black The Diplomat

Following her retirement from the film industry, Temple Black married Charles Black at 22 and began her successful career as a diplomat. She worked in the United Nations for five years, from 1969 to 1974 and acted as U.S. ambassador to Ghana (1974-1976) and Czechoslovakia (1989-1992). In between her employment as a diplomat, Temple Black returned to show business in the late 1950s with Shirley Temple’s Storybook television series and beat breast cancer in 1972.

Temple Black is survived by her three children, Linda, Charlie and Lori.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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