The former child star of the 1930s, Shirley Temple, died Feb. 10 at age 85.

Temple died of natural causes in her San Francisco home. Temple’s family issued a statement following her death.

“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.”

Temple set the standard high for a child star. As a child, Temple’s talent in dancing, singing, and acting made her a unique entertainer adored by many. She began working at age 3 on her first movie Runt Page, which was part of the series Baby Burlesks.

Since her first appearance, she had starred in over 40 movies up until age 18. Her signature curly hair, dimples, and charismatic personality were also part of her personage.

President Franklin Roosevelt went on to call Temple “Little Miss Miracle” because of the morale boost she gave to the public during tough economic times. Roosevelt went as far as saying “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right,” during the Great Depression.

In the 1935 film The Little Colonel, Temple had the opportunity to work with the tap dance guru Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. In an interview with NPR, Temple described a “kind of magic” between Robinson and herself.

As an adult she went on to become a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1969. In 1974, she was appointed U.S. ambassador of Ghana and later Czechoslovakia in 1989. Temple was also the first woman to be U.S. Chief of Protocol.

Temple won several awards in her lifetime including an Academy Award in 1934 for “Outstanding Personality” for her role in Bright Eyes and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2005.

Growing up, Shirley Temple movies were my favorite. To this day I still have the songs “Animal Crackers” and “Good Ship Lollipop” stuck in my head.

Shirley Temple was a great role model for young girls and even young boys growing up. In Temple’s movies she dealt with losing parents, learning not to lie, and the consequences of being materialistic. These are values that I continue to find important today and are why I love her movies. Not to mention the amazing dance moves she performed effortlessly.

Temple’s death means the end for a wonderful entertainer and woman, however it is not the end of the legacy she has left behind.


Photo via Creative Commons