She was the all-American girl. The twinkling blue eyes, the corkscrew blonde curls, the adorable smile and the saccharine sweet, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth innocence that reminded America and the world that there were better things to look forward to during the Great Depression. This morning the news broke that Shirley Temple had died at home, aged 85.
A statement from her agent confirmed that Shirley Temple Black died Monday night at her home near San Francisco from natural causes, surrounded by her family and caregivers.
Beginning her film career at 3 years of age, Temple dominated the box office in the 1930s with a string of hit films including Bright Eyes, Curly Top, The Littlest Rebel and The Little Princess. She endeared herself to generations singing signature tunes such as “On the Good Ship, Lollipop” (from Bright Eyes) and “Animal Crackers in My Soup” (from Curly Top).
At 6 years old she was awarded the Academy Awards’ first Juvenile Award for her outstanding contribution to film. She was the youngest recipient to be honoured by the Academy, a record she still currently holds. Her success gave birth to a drink, a collector’s item doll and copycat curls seen on every girl’s head (myself included).
However, as she matured into adolescence, the public love affair with her seemed to cool. She completely retired from films at age 21.
Later in life she had a hugely successful career in politics. She served as the US representative to the UN General Assembly in 1969 and later was a US ambassador to Ghana and, what was, Czechoslovakia.
Temple married John Agar when she was 17. That marriage lasted only five years. Just days after her divorce to Agar was finalized, Temple married Charles Black, a union which lasted till his death in 2005.
Temple is survived by her three children, a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.
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