Shirley Temple, the legendary child star of the 1930s, has passed away at the age of 85. The actress-turned-ambassador died Monday night surrounded by her family in her home near San Francisco.
Temple was a shining light in the darkness that was the Great Depression, and was one of the top box office performers from 1935 to 1938, even beating out some of the greatest actors ever to live such as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, and Robert Taylor. Her work in movies like Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel helped to save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy.
Of her passing, Temple’s family released this statement:
“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 fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black.”
Temple was honored with a Juvenile Oscar, a special honorary Academy Award given to younger performers, for her work in 1934, which included Stand Up and Cheer!, Little Miss Marker, Baby Take a Bow and Bright Eyes.
As she aged, Temple’s career as an actress diminished, eventually ending with her retirement at the age of 22 (with a brief return for a two-season TV anthology in the late ’50s). From there she started and raised a family, sat on the boards of various corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation, and eventually got into politics, where she held multiple diplomatic positions.
After an unsuccessful United States Congress bid, she was named to positions including Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly, appointed by President Richard Nixon, in 1969; United States Ambassador to Ghana, appointed by President Gerald Ford, from 1974 to 1976; Chief of Protocol of the United States, appointed by President Jimmy Carter, from 1976 to 1977; and United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, from 1989 to 1992.
1928 — 2014