Shirley Temple passes away at 85

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Shirley Temple Black in 1990, in Czechoslovakia where she served as a US diplomat.

Shirley Temple Black, one of the most famous child actresses ever, died late Monday night at the age of 85. At a mere 3 years old, Temple Black began acting, and was a full-fledged success by 10. She was raking in $50,000 per movie, which was just bonkers back then!

She was known for singing, tap dancing, and her adorable curly hair. In fact, little girls styled their own hair like Temple Black’s from the 1930s all the way to the 70s. She rose to fame in hit movies like Little Miss Marker, The Littlest Rebel, and Bright Eyes, where she first sang her most well-known song “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in 1934.

Despite her incredible popularity as a child, by 1940, her stardom faded away and 20th Century Fox cancelled her contract before she was a teenager. By age 22, she’d retired completely from filmmaking and started a career as a foreign diplomat, creating positive relations with other countries. She served in the United Nations from 1969-1974, as US ambassador to Ghana from 1974-1976, and US ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989-1992.

Former US President George H.W. Bush, who had appointed her as the US diplomat for Czechoslovakia, offered his sympathy for Temple Black’s family in a statement. “She captured the affections of millions around the world by her endearing performances on the silver screen as a young girl, but I also admired Shirley for her selfless service to our country later in her life.” He added, “In both roles, she truly lifted people up and earned not only a place in our hearts — but also our enduring respect.”