Hollywood Legend Shirley Temple Dead At 85

By: CBS, Posted by Chris Fisher
By: CBS, Posted by Chris Fisher

(CBS)-- Former child star Shirley Temple died in her Woodside, Calif. home late Monday night at the age of 85, her publicist, Cheryl Kagan says.

She died of natural causes, Kagan adds.

Temple was more than just "good." She was the most recognizable child star of all-time –funny, wholesome and sometimes even a bit naughty.

Temple was one of Hollywood's first superstars. And in the middle of the Great Depression, her on-screen adventures were a much needed diversion.

She made more than 50 movies, most filmed when she was between 4 and 10 years old.

"I think I was the luckiest child in America," she said in 1989.

Shirley Jane Temple was born in 1928. She began her career in a series of short films, called "Baby Burlesques," in which the three-and-a-half-year-old imitated some very grown-up ladies.

In one such film, she said, "I'm Polly Tix. Boss Flynn sent me over to entertain you."

But it was her sweetness that eventually won out.

A string of hits made her the top movie star of the 1930s, earning $4 million by the time she was 12; that's the equivalent of $64 million today.

She was known for her dimpled smile and her curls, exactly 56 of them every time, and a work ethic that outpaced most of her adult co-stars -- something she remembered 50 years later when she remarked in 1989, "I started working at 3 and a half, and I learned that time is money, and it's 'work', not 'play."'

Even at a young age, Temple could learn pages of dialogue and complicated steps with some of the best dancers in Hollywood.

And she could turn on the tears at will, never failing to break her audiences' hearts.

She often played an orphan, or the daughter of a single parent, usually changing the lives of those in trouble or despondent. She could get anyone to do anything for her.

In "The Littlest Rebel," she said to the Abraham Lincoln character, "Mr. President, you won't let them shoot my daddy, will you?"

The real president at the time, Franklin Roosevelt, said, "As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we'll be alright."

Shirley Temple had it all as a child: her own car, an honorary Oscar, but the movie roles started to dry up when the adorable little girl grew into a nice but average-looking teenager.

The money was mostly gone, too, siphoned off by family and advisers. She retired from movie roles at the age of 21, not long after marrying one of her co-stars, John Agar.

But years later, there was an Act Two for Shirley Temple, whehn she became U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

In 2006, she said, "Little Shirley always helps me open doors. But if I don't know what to do or what to say or how to perform, then the doors close."

Temple seemed to always know how to perform -- always on-cue with that trademark giggle that made her an on- screen legend.

Here's a look at the life of former child star Shirley Temple Black.

Personal: Birth date: April 23, 1928

Death date: February 10, 2014

Birth place: Santa Monica, California

Birth name: Shirley Jane Temple

Father: George Temple, a banker

Mother: Gertrude Temple

Marriages: Charles A. Black (December 1950 - August 4, 2005, his death); John Agar (September 19, 1945 - December 5, 1949, divorced)

Children: with Charles A. Black: Lori Alden, April 8, 1954 and Charles Alden Jr., April 28, 1952; with John Agar: Linda Susan, January 30, 1948 (adopted by Black)

Education: Westlake School for Girls, 1945

Other Facts: She began performing at age 3½.

Most remembered for singing "On the Good Ship Lollipop" in the 1934 movie "Bright Eyes" and tap dancing on the staircase with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in 1935 in "The Little Colonel."

Is the number one box-office draw in America and Britain from 1935-1938.

Her corkscrew curls were popular with little girls from the 1930s through the 1970s.

A "Shirley Temple" cocktail is non-alcoholic - ginger ale with a dash of grenadine syrup and a maraschino cherry.

Timeline: 1932 - First film of notice, part of the "Baby Burlesks" short-subject series, "War Babies."

1934 - The year of her first feature-length film, "Carolina", first starring role, as Marky in "Little Miss Marker", and beginning of seven-year contract with Twentieth Century-Fox. She also receives a miniature Oscar at the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

1940 - Her contract with Twentieth Century-Fox is terminated a year before it's up, by mutual agreement with her parents.

November 25, 1949 - Her last film is released, "A Kiss for Corliss."

1950 - Retires from films to become a full-time homemaker.

1958-1961 - Her hour-long, weekly television show, "Shirley Temple's Storybook", airs for 38 episodes.

November 1967 - Running as a Republican, Temple Black loses the special election for the 11th California Congressional District seat.

1969-1974 - Is a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations.

November 1972 - Successfully battles breast cancer with a mastectomy to her left breast.

1974-1976 - Is the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana

July 1, 1976 - January 21, 1977 - The first female U.S. Chief of Protocol.

1983 - Co-chair and charter member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the training school for ambassadors.

1988 - "Child Star: An Autobiography", is published.

1989-1992 - Is the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia

1995 - Receives Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement in the performing arts.

2006 - Receives a Screen Actors' Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

February 10, 2014 - Dies of natural causes at the age of 85.


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