While best known as the golden-haired child star, Shirley Temple Black was also a mother and diplomat.
While the world is still reeling from the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, yet another beloved actor recently passed away. Shirley Temple—known as Shirley Temple Black after her marriage in 1950—is best known as the joyous, dimple-bearing kiddo who starred in numerous movies, including The Little Princess, Heidi and Curly Top. Temple died late Monday in her home in Woodside, California at the age of 85.
Shirley Temple was born on April 23, 1928, and by the ripe age of 5, she could sing, act and dance. Later, from 1935 to 1938, Temple was the nation’s top box-office draw, beating out big-name actors such as Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor and Joan Crawford. The California native was by far one of the most successful child stars in all of history, making more than 40 movies before the age of 12.
Although Temple is ingrained in America’s public conscience as the all-American, golden-haired child she was in the 1930s, her life consisted of much more than just acting. After starring in numerous roles, Temple devoted her life to politics, and was appointed US delegate to the United Nations by none other than President Richard Nixon. Later, she was a US ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
Temple married Charles Black in 1950, and had two children with him over the course of their marriage, which lasted more than 50 years (Temple also had a child from her previous marriage). Temple fell into the public spotlight once again when she opened up to the public about her 1972 mastectomy and inadvertently become one of the first women to openly discuss breast cancer. Temple received incredible support for her fans, and has been since credited with removing some of the stigmas once associated with breast cancer.
Unlike many of her peers, Shirley Temple successfully made the transition from child star to a successful, vivacious woman. While she will likely be recalled best as the adorable blonde actress singing “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” her life was dedicated to loving and serving others, and she will ultimately be remembered as a woman who was as beautiful as she was kind.