Former child star Shirley Temple, who was born in Santa Monica, passed away Monday, Feb. 10 in her Northern California home. She was 85.
Later known as Shirley Temple Black when she married Charles Aiden Black in 1950, the actress made a name for herself in the 1930s with her energetic tap dancing, dimples, and blonde locks. She was considered the most famous actor in the United States during the mid to late 1930s.
In fact, during the Great Depression years and up to the United States’ entry into World War II, Temple Black starred in 23 films. According to news reports and anecdotes, Temple Black’s roles in those films were instrumental to both her fame and to helping moviegoers maintain some positivity amidst the Great Depression.
The actress won an honorary Oscar when she was six years old. In her 1988 autobiography, “Child Star,” Temple noted an accounting revealed she earned more than $3 million during her childhood, though most of it did not go to her bank account.
Retiring from film at 22, Temple moved on to a career in diplomacy and public service. For example, then-President Richard Nixon appointed Temple to serve the United States as a diplomat to the United Nation’s General Assembly.
She later served as an ambassador to Ghana in the mid-1970s, worked with Gerald Ford as his “chief of protocol” during his brief presidency, and then was the President George H. W. Bush’s top diplomat in Czechoslovakia in 1989.
She ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1967. Temple also survived breast cancer.
The daughter of George and Gertrude Temple, Temple was born in Santa Monica on April 23, 1928.