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Shirley Temple passes away at age 85: Former child star & diplomat remembered

Shirley Temple Black passes away at 85.
Getty Images/Today In Photos

The world has lost a true legend today. According to a Reuters report and multiple news outlets dated Tues. Feb. 11, former child star Shirley Temple Black has passed away at 85. In a statement released by Cheryl Kagan, it was confirmed that Temple Black died of natural causes at her Woodside, California, home at 10:57 PM on Mon. Feb. 10. She was surrounded by family and caregivers.

"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.

Black was born on April 23, 1928. She rose to stardom in the early 1930s, and was famous by age 6. She became an entertainment sensation. As a result, look-alike dolls, dresses, and other Shirley Temple items were created. She was one of Hollywood's first starts to enjoy "marketing."

Times were rough when Shirley Temple entered the spotlight, but she made people smile. With a head full of curls, bright eyes, and dimples, the young Temple entertained the country during the Great Depression. She was known for her dancing, and singing fun little songs, such as "On the Good Ship Lollipop."

The adorable and talented little girl was the subject of over 40 feature films. Her hits included "Little Miss Marker" (1934), "Curly Top" (1935) and "The Littlest Rebel" (1935). She beat other top stars during that time, such as Clark Cable and Bing Crosby.

However, Temple's childhood career was over by age 12. She starred opposite Ronald Reagan in "The Hagan Girl," before retiring from the big screen at 21.

Temple soon proved she was so much more than a cute entertainer. Her interest in politics began when her husband Charles Black was called back into the Navy to work in Washington.

She volunteered with the Republican Party while attempting to return with two TV series. However, it became clear that politics was her new path. She unsuccessfully ran for Congress, but she did wind up greatly assisting with Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. She later went on to serve as a diplomat for president George H. W. Bush. Though the public often had a hard time accepting her diplomatic roles, Temple reminded them that she had actually spent more time in this line of work than in acting. Her resume spoke for itself.

In 1972, the award-winning Temple Black overcame breast cancer. Her star never did completely fade, and her photos and films, along with her political roles will forever be a integral part of American history.

She is survived by her children, granddaughter, and great-granddaughters. Private funeral arrangements are pending.

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