Screen icon and one-time child star Shirley Temple Black died late Monday evening. She was 85.
Temple Black "peacefully passed away" in her California home, dying of natural causes, Reuters reports. In a statement released to the media, her family shares:
"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 of fifty-five years."
The actress’s career began at the ripe old age of 3, when she accepted a role in Christy Cabanne’s 1932 drama Red Haired Alibi. The ingénue charmed audiences for years as a precocious silver screen idol, appearing in numerous short films and features. She was characterized by her infamous curly hair, but had talent to back up her cute-girl looks. As Reuters notes, Temple "became a national institution, and her raging popularity spawned look-alike dolls, dresses and dozens of other Shirley Temple novelties as she became one of the first stars to enjoy the fruits of the growing marketing mentality."
In a short span, the tireless young Temple appeared in close to 40 movies. Her most memorable moment arguably could be her performance of what became her signature song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop," in the 1934 movie Bright Eyes.
And in 1935, the Academy actually honored young Temple with a special Oscar for "outstanding contribution to screen entertainment." The talkies!
Temple briefly retired from acting at age 22, but never left the spotlight. She regularly appeared on television shows and talk-show programs. She filmed several movies in her later years, appearing opposite Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and the like. She sat on boards on major corporations and political organizations over the years, using her fame to make a charitable difference. She ran for Congress in 1967 (but lost), and was appointed the United States ambassador to Ghana in 1974, then to Czechoslovakia in 1989. She’s the anti-Lohan.
Name something to be accomplished in Hollywood, and Temple achieved it. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Way back in 1925, she left her footprints and hand prints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. And a bronze statue of Temple as a child was erected on the Fox lot in 2002. Undeniably, Hollywood has lost one of its brightest stars.