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Shirley Temple dies aged 85

2014-02-11 12:36
Woodside - Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.

Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died on Monday night at about 23:00 at her home near San Francisco. She was surrounded by family members and caregivers, Kagan said.

"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 for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black," a family statement said.

A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America's top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranking of the top 50 screen legends ranked Temple at No 18 among the 25 actresses. She appeared in scores of movies and kept children singing On the Good Ship Lollipop for generations.

Temple was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy with films such as Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel. She even had a drink named after her, an appropriately sweet and innocent cocktail of ginger ale and grenadine, topped with a maraschino cherry.

Temple blossomed into a pretty young woman, but audiences lost interest, and she retired from films at 21. She raised a family and later became active in politics and held several diplomatic posts in Republican administrations, including ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the historic collapse of communism in 1989.

Temple's expert singing and tap dancing in the 1934 feature Stand Up and Cheer! first gained her wide notice. The number she performed with future Oscar winner James Dunn, Baby Take a Bow, became the title of one of her first starring features later that year.

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