She brought warmed the hears of many during the Depression with her golden ringlets and infections smile. Shirley Temple Black, who also enjoyed a long career as a diplomat, died today, February 11 at her home in Woodside, California, home from natural causes. She was surrounded by family and caregivers, a statement from Cheryl Kagan said, according to CNN.
Temple Black began her acting career at age 3 and was a huge box-office draw before she turned 10. She commanded a salary of $50,000 per movie, which was virtually unheard during that time. She won an honorary Academy Award at age 6 and earning $3 million before she hit puberty. In total, she made 14 short films, 43 feature films, more than 25 storybook films from 1931-1961.
Shirley Temple movies always included songs and a tap dance. The most famous ones were “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and “Animal Crackers in My Soup.” Her many dance partners included George Murphy, Jack Haley and Buddy Ebsen.
The pint-sized actress was also a trailblazer of sorts with her most successful partnership being with the legendary African-American entertainer Bill (Bojangles) Robinson. She may have been the first white actress allowed to hold hands affectionately with a black man on screen, and her staircase dance with Mr. Robinson in “The Little Colonel,” the first of four movies they made together, still captivates viewers to this day.
After retiring from films when she was 22, she married Charles Black, changing her last name from Temple to Temple Black. She then launched a career as a foreign diplomat, serving in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974 was U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
On Sunday, March 9, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will pay tribute to Shirley Temple Black with a night of her films. Funeral arrangements are pending. A remembrance guest book will be set up online at shirleytemple.com.