Shirley Temple-Black, the curly-haired child star of the 1930s, has died at the age of 85. Her family says she passed away late last night at her California home of natural causes.
- Shirley Temple was born on April 23rd, 1928 in Santa Monica, California.
- Shirley starred in dozens of movies as a child, starting with Bright Eyes -- in which she sang “On the Good Ship Lollipop” -- when she was just six years old.
- As an adult, she became a U.S. diplomat, serving as ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and later as the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States under President Richard Nixon.
- Many credit Temple with making breast cancer a public issue after her diagnosis in 1972.
- She received the Screen Actors Guild’s highest honor, the Life Achievement Award in 2005.
- Shirley Temple Black is survived by one child from her first marriage, to Jack Agar, and two children with her late husband Charles Black.
Born in 1928 in Santa Monica, California, Shirley Temple began taking dance lessons at age three and was soon cast in motion pictures. In 1934, she starred in Bright Eyes, first singing her signature song, “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” Soon after came Curly Top, which featured “Animal Crackers in My Soup.” Temple went on to star in dozens of movies until retiring in 1949 -- at age 21.
Many historians credit Shirley Temple with providing a glimmer of hope to Americans during the darkest days of the Great Depression. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt even reportedly once said, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.”
Later in life, Shirley Temple Black became involved in Republican politics, running unsuccessfully for Congress in 1967 on a pro-Vietnam War platform. She was also named the U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later Czechoslovakia, and was the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States, appointed by President Richard Nixon to oversee all State Department events.
Temple Black was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and soon became the first person to discuss her diagnosis on television. Fellow actress Barbara Barrie credits her with breaking a taboo and allowing women to discuss the disease freely.
The American Film Institute ranks Shirley Temple number-18 on its list of 100 Years…100 Stars. And in 2005, she received the Screen Actors Guild’s highest honor, the Life Achievement Award.
Shirley Temple Black is survived by one child from her first marriage, to Jack Agar, and two children to her late husband Charles Black.