On Monday, legendary former child actress Shirley Temple Black died of natural causes. She was 85.
Temple had a remarkable life and career, well summarized by the above video from the Screen Actors Guild. The video was unveiled in 2006, when Temple was given a lifetime achievement award.
"In 1933, Americans might have been standing at bread lines, but they were also lining up at the movies — momentarily escaping their troubles for a ticket costing two dimes and a nickel," explains the tribute video. "Movie production thrived during the Great Depression, but no one could have predicted that a brown-eyed, curly hared child would be the one to send a thunderbolt through the entertainment industry."
After appearing in a series of films parodying the big stars of the era, Temple was signed by 20th Century Fox at age five. In the subsequent years, she appeared in films like Stand Up and Cheer!, Change of Heart, Little Miss Marker, and Baby Take a Bow. Temple's work proved so reliably popular that she was the first child actor to be awarded a special miniature Oscar by the Academy in 1934. As "Shirley-mania" set in, Temple's image was relentlessly merchandized in the form of dolls, records, clothes, and a breakfast cereal.
Temple's popularity eventually declined, and after a string of so-so movies in the 1940s, she officially retired from acting in 1950. Less than a decade later, however, she returned to TV for the anthology series Shirley Temple's Storybook, in which she narrated a series of family-friendly fairy tale adaptations.
When Shirley Temple's Storybook concluded, her career took a turn few could have anticipated when she became a delegate to the United Nations. In 1974, she served as the U.S. ambassador to Ghana; in 1976, she was appointed the United States' first female chief of protocol; and in 1992, she served as the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
But while she may have left Hollywood for a life in politics — and didn't have a credited role in anything after 1963 — Temple was roundly appreciated by her fellow actors for the rest of her life. In 1998 she was honored at the Kennedy Center, and in 2006, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild, who cited a quote from President Franklin Roosevelt: "As long as we have Shirley Temple, we'll be all right."
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