Shirley Temple Black, who as a dimpled, bright-eyed youngster lifted the spirits of Americans during the Great Depression as well as later becoming a diplomat for the U.S., died on Monday. Temple Black was 85 said a spokesperson for the family when announcing her death.
Temple Black lured millions in the 1930s to the movies. The spokesperson said she passed away peacefully at her home in California due to natural causes surrounded by family and caregivers.
The statement from her family said they saluted her for her remarkable achievements while an actor, diplomat and most importantly as a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was married for 55 years, said the statement.
As Shirley Temple the actress, she was bouncy, adorable and precocious with her curly hair bouncing around as she tap danced through her songs such as On the Good Ship Lollipop.
As Shirley Temple Black the ambassador, she was earnest yet soft-spoken in her postings in Ghana and Czechoslovakia out to disprove the concerns that her career in entertainment made her a lightweight as a diplomat.
Black said she did not have any trouble with being taken seriously, as a diplomat and woman in Ghana while ambassador in 1984, but her only problems were with Americans who refused in the beginning to believe she had matured since her movies.
Black was born on April 23, 1928 and started her career in entertainment in the 1930s. She was famous before her seventh birthday. She became a U.S. national institution quickly and her popularity spawned dolls that looked like her, dresses as well as dozens of other novelties related to her likeness.
Executives from movie studios took notice of her in 1934 when she appeared in Stand Up and Cheer. Movies like Bright Eyes and Little Miss Marker gave her worldwide exposure. In 1935, she was given a special Oscar for outstanding contributions to screen entertainment.
Temple Black appeared in 40 movies in a 10-year span and starred alongside Jimmy Durante, Lionel Barrymore and Randolph Scott amongst others.