Shirley Temple Dead at 85

Remains youngest Oscar-winner ever

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 11, 2014 5:51 AM CST | Updated Feb 11, 2014 7:44 AM CST

(Newser) – Famed child actress Shirley Temple died yesterday of natural causes at the age of 85, her family says. She passed away at her home in Woodside, Calif., "surrounded by her family and caregivers." Born in 1928, Temple soared to fame in the 1930s; she was three when she appeared in her first film, the BBC notes. At six, she won a special kids' Oscar, making her the youngest ever to receive an Academy Award—a distinction she still holds. Temple appeared in 46 films and "one-reelers" before she was 13, the Hollywood Reporter notes, and she was America's biggest box-office draw for four consecutive years, outpacing even Clark Gable. The Reporter explains her star power with these standout figures: An average 16,000 letters were sent to her a month; one birthday, fans sent her 167,000 presents.

Temple was spotted at a Los Angeles dance school, and soon appeared in a series of one-reelers called "Baby Burlesks," which she later called "a cynical exploitation of our childish innocence that occasionally were racist or sexist." Her first feature film was Stand Up and Cheer in 1934, the BBC reports; at age 6, she was making $1,250 per week—with her mother serving as her hairstylist for each film, forming an exact 56 curls every time. At 21 in 1950, she retired from the silver screen (the AP has a list of her feature films), though she appeared on television in the 1950s and 1960s. She went on to become a US diplomat and foreign ambassador under four different presidents. Temple is survived by three children.

In this Jan. 29, 2006 file photo, Shirley Temple Black accepts the Screen Actors Guild Awards' life achievement award in Los Angeles.
In this Jan. 29, 2006 file photo, Shirley Temple Black accepts the Screen Actors Guild Awards' life achievement award in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Shirley Temple is shown as she appeared in Wee Willie Winkie in 1937.
Shirley Temple is shown as she appeared in "Wee Willie Winkie" in 1937.   (AP Photo, File)
In this Nov. 1936 file photo, 8-year-old U.S. American child movie star Shirley Temple is portrayed in Hollywood, Ca., USA.
In this Nov. 1936 file photo, 8-year-old U.S. American child movie star Shirley Temple is portrayed in Hollywood, Ca., USA.   (AP Photo/File)
This photo released by Daniel Watson shows his uncle Delmar Watson, right, as Peter with Shirley Temple as Heidi in a scene from the 1937 film Heidi.
This photo released by Daniel Watson shows his uncle Delmar Watson, right, as Peter with Shirley Temple as Heidi in a scene from the 1937 film "Heidi."   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Delmar Watson's family)
In this 1933 file photo, child actress Shirley Temple is seen in her role as Little Miss Marker.
In this 1933 file photo, child actress Shirley Temple is seen in her role as "Little Miss Marker."   (AP Photo/File)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
2%
5%
83%
7%
1%
1%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!