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Shirley Temple, Depression Era Film Darling, Diplomat, Dies at 85

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Shirley Temple accepting a lifetime achievement awards from the Screen Actors Guild in 2006 and as a child star in the 1930s (inset) (Photos via Getty)

Shirley Temple accepting a lifetime achievement awards from the Screen Actors Guild in 2006 and as a child star in the 1930s (inset) (Photos via Getty)

Shirley Temple, who delighted millions as a child actress during one of the worst periods in American history and later went on to a career as a U.S. Ambassador, died at her home Monday (Feb. 10) from natural causes. She was 85.

Temple died at her home in Woodside, California, at around 11pm, surrounded by her family and caregivers, according to a family statement.

“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,” her family said in a statement.

Temple’s career began in 1934 when she was just three years old. It was the beginning of a career that would span decades and included 43 films.

In 1934, when she was six, she starred in the film Bright Eyes. She became an overnight sensation and became the youngest actor to ever win an Academy Award in what as then the juvenile category.

With her 1,000-watt smile and indefatigable personality, Temple delighted movie goers by singing and dancing. her cupie doll countenance belied her amazing talent, which was years ahead of her age.

During the depths of the Great Recession, she starred in films like “Curly Top” and “The Littlest Rebel,” uplifting films that featured her pluck, determination and eternal optimism, expressed in song and dance.

She retired from Hollywood in 1950, but remained America’s sweetheart for the rest of her life.

Afterward, she devoted her time to charitable causes and later entered government service, serving as a U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia and as chief of protocol in the State Department. She also worked with the United Nations.

She was married twice; first to John Agar, with whom she had a daughter, Linda, at 17. They divorced four years later. She married Charles Alden Black in 1950 had a son, Charles Jr. and daughter. He died in 2005 after 54 years of marriage.

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