Former child star Shirley Temple (known as Shirley Temple Black in her private life) passed away at age 85 on Monday at her home in Woodside, California, from natural causes, her publicist said in a statement.
“She was surrounded by her family and caregivers. 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 55 years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black,” the statement said.
Temple starred in 14 short films, 43 feature films and over 25 storybook movies in a career that spanned from 1931 until 1961.
The curly-haired actress found success in films like 1934’s Bright Eyes and Stand Up and Cheer!, 1935’s Curly Top and 1937’s Heidi. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934.
She left the film industry in 1950 at the age of 22 but returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. Temple also made guest appearances in television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released.
In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for United States Congress, and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989.
UPDATE: SAG-AFTRA released the following statement on the death of Shirley Temple Black:
Shirley Temple Black, the 42nd Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement honoree, died Monday at the age of 85. Black captivated the world as no other child star has done before or since, and then went on to serve her country as an eminent diplomat over more than three decades.
SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said, “Shirley was a terrific actor whose vibrancy and brilliance set audiences on fire at a crucial time in our nation’s history. More important, she was a conscientious and caring citizen whose work on behalf of her union and her country exemplified true service. She’ll be greatly missed by so many, but never forgotten.
“She was a true icon of the entertainment industry and beloved of our her colleagues in the acting profession. Shirley simply epitomized the word “star”. There are few more deserving of her accolades and I am personally so pleased that she was a recipient of our Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.”
In accepting her 2005 award from the union, Black said, “I’m indeed honored to receive the Life Achievement Award from my peers When I was three years old, I was delighted to be told that I was an actress, even though I didn’t know what an actress was.
“I’d been blessed with three wonderful careers: motion pictures and television, wife, mother and grandmother, and diplomatic services, for the United States government. I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the Life Achievement Award: start early!”
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)