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Former Child Star Shirley Temple Dies at 85

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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.

Former Child Star Shirley Temple Dies at 85

Shirley Temple with her doll on board to Hawaii in 1937. (Imagno/Getty Images)

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.

[Related: Where Would Shirley Temple Rank as a Child Star 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.

No longer in front of the cameras, Temple Black went onto pursue a career in politics. While she made an unsuccessful bid as Republican candidate for Congress in 1967, she later held several diplomatic posts, including U.S. Representative to the United Nations and United States Ambassador (to Ghana and Czechoslovakia). She was also the first woman to be the Chief of Protocol in the State Department, a role she had during President Carter's administration.

A breast cancer survivor, she wrote the first volume of her autobiography in 1988, calling it "Child Star." She was working on a second volume in her later years.

Temple Black passed away on Feb. 10 at her Woodside, California, home from natural causes. She was surrounded by her family and caretakers.

"We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and adored wife for 55 years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black," the family said in a statement to Yahoo.

Private family arrangements are being made, but fans are asked to sign a remembrance guest book that will be added to her website, ShirleyTemple.com.

As for donations, they may be made in Temple Blacks's memory to the Commonwealth of Club of California's 2nd Century Campaign or to the Educational Center at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

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