SANTA MONICA — Possibly the most famous former child actress in Hollywood, Shirley Temple Black died of natural causes at the age of 85 at her home on Monday, February 10 at 10:57 p.m. At the moment of her passing, she was surrounded by family and caregivers.
Shirley Temple Black, known to the world as Shirley Temple, was born in 1928 in Santa Monica. She began acting at the age of three and rose to fame in 1932 with “War Babies,”Â which was part of the “Baby Burlesks”Â short film series. During the 1930s, she was the star of several successful films produced by 20th Century Fox such as “Little Miss Marker”Â (1934), “Curly Top”Â (1935) which had the famous song “Animal Crackers in My Soup,”Â “The Littlest Rebel”Â (1935) and “Heidi”Â (1937).
At the age of 10, she was already earning $50,000, which was an unheard-of amount at the time, and her movies beat those of Clark Gable and Bing Crosby at the box office. She became memorable all over the world as precocious singer/tap-dancer with corkscrew curls, offering lighthearted entertainment during the years of the Great Depression. In 1940, when her popularity waned, 20th Century Fox terminated her contract. She was only 12 years old at the time.
At the age of 17, she married fellow actor John Agar, with whom she divorced in 1949. A year later, at the age of 22, she retired from the film business, married Charles Black and became a foreign diplomat. She was U.S. delegate to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974, a U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976 and a U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. Her marriage with Black lasted until his death in 2005 at the age of 86.
Mrs. Black’s family members gave a statement saying, “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 for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black.”Â