In The News

Former actress Shirley Temple passes away

Former actress Shirley Temple passes away

THE former actress Shirley Temple has passed away at the age of 85.

There are few members of the acting profession who could have been credited with helping to lift morale during the Great Depression as well as saving Fox Film Corporation from bankruptcy. But Shirley Temple did both in 1930s America when she became the country’s “Little Miss Miracle”.

The sweet-faced child star with the dimples and ringlets became a box office sensation at a time when America and the world faced financial crisis. U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt summed up how much he believed the young actress had helped lift the mood of the people when he said: “As long as we have Shirley Temple we’ll be all right”.

Her first feature film for Fox was Stand Up and Cheer in 1934. She went on to become Hollywood’s number one box office hit for the next four years with such hits as Bright Eyes (1934) in which she sang On The Good Ship Lollipop and melted the hearts of millions of movie goers across the world.

In 1935, at the age of 7, she received a special juvenile Oscar. But by the age of 12, the dream was almost over and her parents bought-out the remainder of their daughter’s contract with the studio. An attempted comeback never really took off and by 1950, with a failed marriage behind her, she retired from the movie business after making a total of 43 feature films.

She remained out of the public eye for almost 20 years, during which time she had married San Francisco businessman Charles Black and raised a family. But in 1967 as Shirley Temple Black she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Congress as a Republican candidate. However, President Nixon went on to appoint her to the American delegation to the United Nations.

In 1974, President Ford appointed her as the United States Ambassador to Ghana and President George Bush Snr appointed her as Ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989.

Her time in films was marked in 2006 when she received the Life Achievement Award from Screen Actors’ Guild (see below). 

Reflecting on the price she had paid for experiencing stardom at such an early age, the former actress once revealed she had stopped believing in Santa Claus when she was six, recalling: “my mother took me to see him in a store and he asked for my autograph”.

To view an excerpt from Bright Eyes in which Shirley Temple sings On The Good Ship Lollipop, click here.

To see coverage of her receiving the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors’ Guild click here.

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