Former Child Star Shirley Temple Dies at 85
The good ship lollipop has sailed off for good. Shirley Temple Black, actress and icon of the 1930s, died Monday night at her home near San Francisco. She was 85.
The pint-sized icon, famous for her ringlet curls and dimples, was 7 years old when she topped the likes of Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, and others to become America's No. 1 box office draw in 1935, and held that title through 1938 with films such as "Curly Top," "Heidi," and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm."
Temple Black was known for bringing cheer to the nation as it recovered from the Great Depression and is widely considered to have helped save Fox from bankruptcy. By the age of 12, she herself was a multi-millionaire. She had already earned $4 million, which would be equivalent to about $65 million today.
The Southern California native was just three when she was discovered in a dance class by producers looking for a star for a short film series called Baby Burlesks. From 1931 until 1961, "America's Little Darling" appeared in 43 feature films, often showing off her dancing skills. The "Bright Eyes" and "Wee Willie Winkie" star received a special Academy Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution during 1934.
Her career slowed down in her teen years and she started to focus more on her personal life. She was married for the first time at 17 to a soldier named Jack Agar. According to her website, Agar's personal problems led them to divorce just four years later, but they had a daughter named Susan.
[Related: Shirley Temple's 15 Most Memorable Roles]
At 22, she retired from making movies completely. It was then that she met the man she described as her "true soulmate," Charles Black, who was a former military officer. The couple had two children, Charlie Jr. and Lori, and remained together until his death in 2005.
Her greatest accomplishment in life is her family, she noted on her website, specifically, "My three children, my granddaughter, and two great-granddaughters," she listed.
In 1958, Temple Black returned to show business, making a two-season series of fairytale adaptations. She hosted and narrated the series on which Temple's three children made their acting debuts.