Shirley Temple in an undated publicity photo taken during her heyday as a child star in 1930s Hollywood. The star-turned-diplomat passed away on Monday at the age of 85. – AFP/HO
From her beginnings as an adorable child star to her illustrious adult career as a US diplomat, we take a look back at Shirley Temple Black’s celebrated life.
SHIRLEY Temple Black, who lifted America’s spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and forged a second career as a US diplomat, died late on Monday evening at the age of 85.
Black, who lured millions to the movies in the 1930s, “peacefully passed away” at her Woodside, California, home from natural causes, surrounded by her family and caregivers, her family said in a statement 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 55 years,” the statement said.
As actress Shirley Temple, she was precocious, bouncy and adorable with a head of curly hair, tap-dancing through songs like On The Good Ship Lollipop.
As Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, she was soft-spoken and earnest in postings in Czechoslovakia and Ghana, 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 US 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.”
Tributes to Black streamed in on Tuesday following the news of her death.
Former US President George H.W. Bush, who appointed Black as ambassador to the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, said she excelled as both a child star and a diplomat.
“She captured the affections of millions around the world by her endearing performances on the silver screen as a young girl, but I also admired Shirley for her selfless service to our country later in her life,” he said in a statement.
The Czech government praised Black, saying she became one of the symbols of the country’s newly won freedom when she served as the US ambassador in Prague from 1989 until 1992.
“With her charm and openness, she greatly contributed to the renovation of an old friendship of our countries and nations,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The entertainment world also mourned her death and turned to Twitter to express its sadness.
“Little Shirley Temple raised the spirits of a nation during the Great Depression. RIP,” actress Mia Farrow tweeted.
Whoopi Goldberg referred to Black’s signature song in her tribute to the former child star on Twitter. “The Good Ship Lollypop has sailed today with Shirley Temple aboard a true one of a kind,” she wrote.
Actress Kristin Chenoweth praised Black as a “legendary child star and wonderful diplomat”.
Black, born on April 23, 1928, started her entertainment career in the early 1930s and was famous by age six. She became a national institution, and her raging popularity spawned look-alike dolls, dresses and dozens of other Shirley Temple novelties as she became one of the first stars to enjoy the fruits of the growing marketing mentality.