Stephanie Sokol for The Pit
Shirley Temple Black, one of the most well-known and successful Hollywood child stars, died last night, according to her publicist. She was 85.
Known for her signature singing, corkscrew curls, starring movie roles and tap-dancing, Temple Black also served as a diplomat for a majority of her life. The star died of natural causes at her home in Woodside, California.
Shirley’s career began at age 3. After her role in 1932 film “War Babies,” she quickly became a household name, and began earning $50,000 per movie by the time she was 10.
The starlet’s success led to product lines, including dolls and apparel for little girls. Earning title of box-office star from 1935 to 1938, she gave people hope during the Great Depression.
Some of her most famous films included early movies “Little Miss Marker” (1934), “Curly Top” (1935) and “The Littlest Rebel” (1935), though she had success in acting for 18 years, with more sales at the box office than other stars of the time, including Clark Gable and Bing Crosby, according to CNN.
While her acting career slowed down by 1940 when she ended her contract with 20th Century Fox, Temple eventually moved on, and at age 22, got married to Charles Black and became a foreign diplomat. Serving in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974, served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976 and served U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992, according to CNN.
“She captured the affections of millions around the world by her endearing performances on the silver screen as a young girl, but I also admired Shirley for her selfless service to our country later in her life,” former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who appointed her to Czechoslovakia, said in a statement released by his spokesman. “In both roles, she truly lifted people up and earned not only a place in our hearts — but also our enduring respect.
“Barbara and I send our condolences to Shirley’s family and countless fans around the world.”
Temple Black’s family made a statement that they “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 of fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black.”
Temple was awarded two lifetime achievement awards for her performing career, survived breast cancer in 1972 and in 1958, returned to the screen in an hourlong show, “Shirley Temple’s Storybook.”
A remembrance book is available to share memories on shirleytemple.com.