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

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.

    New in Music Alley

    Soul Lounge: Sweet Honey in the Rocki
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    February 10, 2016 1:48 PM
    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B. The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.

    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B.   The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.