December 10, 2016

R.I.P. Shirley Temple (1928-2014)

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The film world lost a certified legend lat last night as Shirley Temple (or Shirley Temple Black as she was known after she got married to Charles Black and retired from acting in her 20’s) passed away at the age of 85. She died of natural causes and obviously led a long life, much of it spent in front of the camera. Perhaps the most famous child star of all time, Temple Black was a giant in the industry for sure, and made her impact as a young girl, which makes that even more astounding.

One of the biggest box office draws of her time and easily the youngest A-lister ever, Temple Black was able to command a record salary of $50,000 a picture. That might not sound like a huge amount now, but this was the 1930’s, so that was a massive sum of money to earn. That alone puts her in the history books.

Temple Black won a special Oscar in 1935, but once she retired as an actress at the age of 22, she continued to do some noteworthy work, perhaps even affecting the world in a bigger way. She became a diplomat and served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974. She also was the U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. She spent two decades in front of the camera and then nearly three decades serving her country.

In terms of her film work, Temple Black was best known for her performances in movies like Bright Eyes, Curly Top, Fort Apache, Heidi, Little Miss Marker, and The Littlest Rebel, among others. She was the child actor of her time, and probably the most well known child actor ever. Her name will undoubtedly live on in history until the end of time.

She will most certainly be missed by just about everyone. Rest in peace Shirley…

Photo by Shirley Temple Films

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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