RIP Shirley Temple, Beloved Child Star Dead at 85

Categories: Film and TV

ShirleyTemple_sideglance.jpg
Flickr
A young Shirley Temple
Shirley Jane Temple Black, 1928-2014

One of Hollywood's most precious stars has fallen.

Shirley Temple, the curly-haired and dimpled girl who taught us all how to eat animal crackers in our soup, has died at age 85.

Though Temple's last film role was over 60 years ago, and she last made a television guest appearance in The Red Skelton Hour in 1963, she was nonetheless a beloved child star who defined her generation and inspired those to come.

Her family released a statement Tuesday morning that the actress and diplomat passed away from natural causes in her Woodside, California, home late Monday evening.

"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 55 years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black," the statement read.

Little_Princess_ShirleyTemple.jpg
WikiCommons
Shirley Temple in The Little Princess, 1939
Temple began her career in the 1930s and had a successful run for about two decades. In one of her first major starring roles, Temple played the wise-beyond-her-years Marky Jane in Little Miss Marker in 1934 opposite Adolphe Menjou. She was only six years young.

In the years -- and films -- to come, arguably one of her most memorable film roles was Curly Top in 1935.

Her ambitious nature and glowing smile lent itself perfectly for success in Hollywood, especially during a time when the nation was grieving the Great Depression.

"People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog, Rin Tin Tin, and a little girl," said Temple.

Once her ringlets grew and her dimples were less pronounced, audiences were less captivated by a young adult Temple. Retiring from the movie-making business at only 22-years-old and entering into a second marriage, she decided to lend her talents in a business that could use her sunny disposition: politics.

According to the New York Times, Temple was appointed a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1969 by President Nixon, and "she went on to win wide respect as the United States ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, was President Gerald R. Ford's chief of protocol in 1976 and 1977, and became President George H. W. Bush's ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989, serving there during the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe."

Temple once recalled how she wondered why people were screaming her name and why she was famous, "I asked my mother and she said, 'Because your films make them happy.'" They will surely continue to do so in the wake of her passing for years to come.

Shirley Jane Temple Black was born April 23, 1928 and died of natural causes on February 10, 2014. She is succeeded by her three children and her many grandchildren.

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