Shirley Temple Black Biography, Christian Faith of America's Iconic Child Star (Video)

( [email protected] ) Feb 11, 2014 03:08 PM EST
Former child star Shirley Temple Black, who was considered to be one of the greatest child stars of all time and America's original sweetheart, passed away from natural causes on February, 10, 2014. She was 85 years old.
Shirley Temple became an instant star in the 1930s and one of the most popular child stars of all time. Disney Images

Former child star Shirley Temple Black, who was considered as one of the greatest child stars of all time and America's original sweetheart, died from natural causes on February, 10, 2014. She was 85 years old.

Temple's family has since released a statement on her passing: "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 fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black....We ask that our family be given the opportunity at this time to grieve privately."

Known for her signature corkscrew curls and memorable song and dance numbers, Temple garnered superstardom at the tender age 6 with her first major film, 1933's Stand Up and Cheer! The following iconic films released in this decade would cement her legacy early on and make her one of the most bankable movie stars ever.

Among her most legendary roles, in the film Bright Eyes (1934) Temple sang one of her most iconic songs, "The Good Ship Lollipop." The following year, the release of The Little Colonel (1935) saw Temple tap-dancing with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in the Civil War drama, which is one of the most historic scenes in cinema.

In her film career which spanned from 1931-1961, she starred in 14 short films, 43 feature films and over 25 storybook movies. Temple was awarded the inaugural Academy Juvenile Award for her early contributions to cinema and accepted the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

Shirley Temple at the SAG Awards in 2006
In one of her rare appearances, Temple accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2006. Photo : Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Temple learned of the magnitude of her fame early on. Her religious views were swayed, as Temple found it difficult to attend church services due to "her fame and popularity would inevitably attract attention away from everything else," as stated in her biography Child Star.

Nevertheless, "religion and spirituality was important to her" throughout her life and career. Though Temple was brought up as Presbyterian, her mother claimed it would be easier to attend Episcopal churches near her home. Despite the difficulties of attending church, her mother made it clear that Temple "was taught about God and the Bible."

The news of Temple's death brought an outpour of grief from many fans and celebrities throughout social media. Many celebrities expressed their sorrow and condolences on Instagram, with a photo of the beloved star and remembrance of her inspiration:

@melissajoanhart: Heartbroken to lose my life-long role model! Happy Landings on a chocolate bar Shirley! Thank you for all the smiles and being an example of a woman with class and values. You were one of a kind!!

@jamesfrancotv: We love you, Shirley temple. Love to all the child stars, grown before their times.

@leonardmaltin: Rest in peace Shirley Temple. One of the most talented and brightest stars in the world has gone to the sky. A genuine phenomenon

After retiring from acting, Temple established a career in politics. She became a U.S. representative to the United Nations, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and became the first female to be U.S. Chief of Protocol under President Gerald Ford's administration. Following her tenure in politics, Temple remained away from the public eye with spacious appearances.

Temple was married twice. Her first marriage to Jack Agar ended in divorce, though they shared one daughter named Linda. She married again to Charles Black in 1950 and had two children, Charles Jr. and Lori Black. Black died in 2005.

No funeral arrangements have been set yet. Temple died Monday night in her home at Woodside, California with family and caregivers near her side.

Read more about her biography here. 

Tags : Shirley Temple, child star, Hollywood, actress, politics, Bright Eyes, The Little Colonel, legend, death, celebrity