News / Arts & Entertainment

    Former Child Star Shirley Temple Dies at 85

    Shirley Temple Dies at 85i
    X
    February 11, 2014 8:56 PM
    Shirley Temple Black, the former child star known as America's Sweetheart, has died in California at the age of 85. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles on the life of the childhood superstar who later served her country as a diplomat.
    VIDEO: Bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star who lifted America's spirits during the Great Depression and later became a US diplomat, passed away peacefully at her California home
    Alex Villarreal
    Shirley Temple Black, who lifted America's spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and later became a U.S. diplomat, died late on Monday evening at the age of 85, a family spokeswoman said in a statement.
     
    Temple Black, who lured millions to the movies in the 1930s, “peacefully passed away” at her California home from natural causes at 10:57 p.m. local time (0657 GMT), surrounded by her family and caregivers, the statement said on Tuesday.
     
    “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 of fifty-five years,” the statement said.

    • Shirley Temple is shown in an undated photo.
    • Shirley Temple poses during the filming of the movie "The Blue Bird."
    • Shirley Temple and animal actor Big Buck feed Heidi, a seven week old fawn.
    • Shirley Temple pictured in 1946.
    • Shirley Temple Black, shown shaking hands of supporters for her candidacy for Congress, shown in 1967 in California.
    • Shirley Temple Black, a U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, is shown before a press conference at the U.N. on Sept.16, 1969.
    • Shirley Temple Black accepts the Screen Actors Guild Awards life achievement award at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, in Los Angeles, Jan. 29, 2006.

    Boasting a dimpled smile, bouncy curls and seemingly boundless happiness, Shirley Temple helped audiences escape with songs and dances that stressed optimism in a complicated world.

    "I loved everything, I loved the bumps and the falls and the hard times, but it was just the greatest life," she said.

    Shirley Jane Temple was discovered at age three by a talent scout who noticed her in dancing school and cast her in a series of short films.  

    Her natural ease onscreen led to her first feature film for Fox Studios, Stand Up and Cheer. The studio did everything they could to maintain her innocence.

    "Winfield Sheehan who was head of Fox Studio when I was little, told my mother that I should not go to the commissary at the studio because I would no longer be a little girl, I would become a little adult," she recalled. "So he had a little bungalow built for me.  There were rabbits and chickens and roosters that drove the writers next door crazy, and a swing.  And that is where I had my lunch every day and had my studies."

    Shirley Temple Black

    • Born April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California
    • Enrolled at Meglin Dance Studio in Los Angeles at 3 years old

    • Cast in 'Baby Burlesques' short films
    • Received a special juvenile Oscar at the age of 6
    • Made more than 40 movies
    • Unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1967
    • Served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in 1969 and 1970
    • Served as ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia

       

    Temple Black astounded her colleagues with her ability to learn intricate songs and dances.  She said her favorite dance partner was Bill Bojangles Robinson, one of Broadway's biggest stars.

    "We had some kind of chemistry between us," she admitted. "We were the first interracial dancing couple on the screen.  In fact, in the deep south of our country, if we were touching hands or holding hands, that would be cut out of the films for the south.

    Now, they show them complete.  But he was very sensitive, he was a good friend, he was funny, he treated me like a peer, one of his peers.  And to dance with him, all I had to do was to hold hands and listen and I learned to tap by listening to this wonderful man," she added.

    By 1934, Shirley Temple was the most popular movie star in the country. And an industry was born. There were Shirley Temple dolls, dishes, dresses and lunch boxes. Celebrities visiting the studio often had their pictures taken with her. Some even became her friends, including Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of then-U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. 

    She received a special Academy Award in 1935 for her "outstanding contribution to screen entertainment." 

    Life after movies

    Her child career came to an end at age 12. She tried a few roles as a teenager - including opposite future president Ronald Reagan in That Hagen Girl.

    Temple was only 17 in 1945 when she married for the first time to John Agar, who would eventually appear with her in two movies. Their five-year marriage produced a daughter.

    Temple retired from acting in 1949 at the age of 21.
     
    In 1950 she wed Charles Black in a marriage that lasted until his death in 2005. She and Black had two children.
     
    Black's interest in politics was sparked in the early '50s when her husband was called back into the Navy to work in Washington.
     
    She did volunteer work for the Republican Party while attempting to make a comeback with two short-lived TV series, Shirley Temple's Storybook in 1959 and The Shirley Temple Theater a year later.
     
    Seven years after that she ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California but stayed in politics, helping raise more than $2 million for Richard Nixon's re-election campaign.

    Temple launched her second career as a diplomat in 1969, when President Richard Nixon appointed her to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations.
     
    In 1974, President Gerald Ford named her Ambassador to Ghana, a job she said in her 1988 autobiography was the "best job of her life."

    "It was a substantive job, I used everything I had ever learned in life in that job and the Ghanian people were very similar to we Americans," Temple Black said. "They are outgoing, they have a good sense of humor, and they are industrious.  And we just got along beautifully."

    Temple Black also served as White House Chief of Protocol, and from 1989 -1992 was Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. 

    As Ambassador she was soft-spoken and earnest, out to disprove concerns that her previous career made her a diplomatic lightweight.
     
    “I have no trouble being taken seriously as a woman and a diplomat here,” Black said after her appointment as U.S. ambassador to Ghana in 1974. “My only problems have been with Americans who, in the beginning, refused to believe I had grown up since my movies.”
     
    Sometimes the public found it hard to accept her in diplomatic roles. But in 1989 she pointed out her 20 years in public service were more than the 19 she spent in Hollywood.
     
    In 1972, Black was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. She publicly discussed her surgery to educate women about the disease.

    In 1998 Temple Black was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, recognizing her as the most successful child entertainer of the 20th century.  And her movies live on.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs