Shirley Temple Dead at 85
Remains youngest Oscar-winner ever
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 11, 2014 5:51 AM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2014 7:44 AM CST
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)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 55 comments
OrneryPup
Feb 11, 2014 11:56 PM CST
She was one of the most beloved people in the world. Rest in peace dear lady.
hotbradnsc
Feb 11, 2014 10:12 PM CST
I grew up on Shirley Temple movies. One of my favorites was the one in which her father was off in India during the War there. He was presumed dead and the evil, wicked school master made her become a peon servant in the school. But "Sara" the character persisted in her belief that her father was alive. She escaped to a hospital to look for her father and ran into an elderly woman in black named "Victoria" who she enlisted to help her in her search for her father. The woman turned out to be Queen Victoria. Sara ran into the school mistress who was running after her. She ran into a room to hide where her father, who had amnesia, was in a corner moaning "Sara...Sara...." Upon seeing his daughter, his memory came back. She wheeled her father out into the corridor in time to see the Queen leaving the building. The Queen was pleased, so was Sara but the movie ended with the awful look of "Boy am I in deep s--t on the face on the part of the School Mistress." (I had always wished there was a Part 2 so we could have seen what the General did to the wicked school mistress!
TwoSheds
Feb 11, 2014 10:11 PM CST
She was the Honey Boo Boo of her time