Shirley Temple, who shot to fame as a Hollywood child star in the 1930s, died Monday, February 10, 2014, at the age of 85. The beloved screen icon appeared in more than fifty film roles during her Hollywood career, although she retired from acting as a young adult and went on to a second career as a political figure and ambassador.
Child stars were not uncommon during the 1930s, but Temple eclipsed all others to become one of the most recognizable stars in the world. She proved a tremendous box office attraction during the Depression, when her cheerful attitude and dancing ability helped take viewers' minds off of their own troubles. Temple's early successes included "Little Miss Marker" (1934), "Baby Take a Bow" (1934), and "Bright Eyes" (1934).
A string of hits followed throughout the 1930s. Temple starred in "Curly Top" (1935), "Stowaway" (1936), "Wee Willie Winkie" (1937), and "Heidi" (1937), after starring in seven feature films in 1934 alone. In 1935 Temple received a special juvenile Oscar honoring her contributions to film. One of her most enduring roles would come a few years later with "The Little Princess" (1939), in which she played the heroine of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel.
As a teen, Temple starred in "Miss Annie Rooney" (1942), "Since You Went Away" (1944), "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" (1947), and "Fort Apache" (1948), but in 1949 she left the big screen. She married actor John Agar in 1945, but the pair divorced in 1949, after appearing together in John Ford's "Fort Apache" and the 1949 film, "Adventure in Baltimore." Temple married Charles Black in 1950, and the two remained together until his death in 2005.
Learn more about Shirley Temple by watching the video at the top of this article.
Jennifer Garlen writes as the Huntsville and National Classic Movies Examiner. Her book, "Beyond Casablanca: 100 Classic Movies Worth Watching," is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.