WASHINGTON, February 11, 2014 —Child actress, Shirley Temple has died in her Northern California home at the age of 85 of natural causes surrounded by her family.
Shirley Temple was born in Santa Monica, California on 23 April 1928.
She had been encouraged by her mother to perform and enrolled her into dance classes as a toddler. She used these talents throughout her childhood years to become an adored character that everyone wanted as their own daughter.
Her first film role was in 1934 in Stand Up and Cheer, where she stole the show.
She brought substantially more money to the Hollywood studios through merchandising of dolls and a Shirley Temple clothing line.
In 1935 she was awarded a special children’s Oscar and her foot and hand prints were placed in the cement outside of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
By the age of 10, Temple was the country’s top box office draw. President Roosevelt even credited her with helping to raise American morale and getting the country through the Great Depression.
Her movie studio turned down a huge offer from MGM studios for her to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the role went to Judy Garland, and instead cast her in Susannah of the Mounties.
At the age of 12 Temple’s appeal as a child wore out and her parents bought out the remainder of her contract to be able to send her to an exclusive girl’s school.
Temple had attempted a comeback but audiences wanted to see her only as the cherub faced six year old and her acting career as a young adult went nowhere.
She still made appearances on occasion in small parts until 1950 when she retired completely from films and disappeared from the limelight.
She was not heard from until 1967 when as Shirley Temple Black she made a run as a Republican for Congress.
Despite her loss, Temple Black continued to champion the party’s causes and was rewarded by Nixon with an appointment to the American delegation to the United Nations. Then, in 1974, President Ford appointed her the United States Ambassador to Ghana.
In 1972, Temple was diagnosed with breast cancer and spoke publically and honestly about her disease, erasing some of the discomfort associated with breast cancer by becoming one of the first high profile women to share their battle.
Although Temple Black always spoke positively of her years in Hollywood, she did lament some of her lost childhood due to celebrity, “I stopped believing in Santa Claus at the age of six when my mother took me to see him in a store and he asked for my autograph”.
Despite a successful political career, to many, Shirley Temple will always be remembered as the adorable child hero who saved the day while singing and dancing.