Shirley Temple dies aged 85

The Hollywood child star turned politician passed away on Monday at home in California, her family has said

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Shirley Temple dies aged 85
Written By
Susanna Lazarus

Hollywood star Shirley Temple has died at the age of 85, her family has confirmed. 

The American actress, who found fame as a child star in the 1930s, became a major box office draw, with President Roosevelt even crediting her with helping to raise US morale during the Great Depression. 

Temple made her breakthrough in 1934 movie Stand Up and Cheer!, aged just six, but it was Bright Eyes later that year that contains one of her most widely-remembered on-screen moments – a performance of the musical number On the Good Ship Lollypop – and which first saw her name above the title of the film.

The peak of her career came in 1939 with The Little Princess, her first appearance in Technicolour and a major critical and box office success. 

But by the age of 12 – after turning down the chance to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz – Temple's career was on the wane and she was bought of the remainder of her contract by her parents and retired from the limelight. 

After a failed comeback and twenty years of marriage to second husband Charles Black, she returned to the public eye as Shirley Temple Black, running as a Republican candidate for Congress in 1967. She lost the election but a career in politics followed, with President Nixon appointing her to the American delegation to the United Nations, and Temple eventually becoming the first woman Chief of Protocol at the White House under George Bush Snr. 

Speaking later in her career – after putting Hollywood behind her – Temple said, "Some people are stuck on this image of the little girl. She is not me. We shouldn't live in the past; my life is now." 

Temple died at home in Woodside, California on Monday night from natural causes. A statement released confirmed: "She was surrounded by her family and caregivers. We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and... our beloved mother, grandmother [and] great-grandmother."


 


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