Shirley Temple, the beloved former child star who rose to fame as a dimple-cheeked redhead in the 1930s, passed away at her home in California last night.
She was 85 years old.
Publicist Cheryl Kagan confirmed this sad news to the Associated Press, saying Temple (full name: Shirley Temple Black) was surrounded by friends and family members at the time of her passing.
The actress was America’s top box office draw from 1935 to 1938, beating out such adult competition at the time as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.
Many even credit Temple with saving 20th Century Fox from going under, thanks to hits that included Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Temple as the 18th greatest female screen legend of all-time, though some merely think of her for the drink (a mix of ginger ale and grenadine) named in her honor.
Temple started her career as a toddler and appeared in countless movies; sh kept children singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” for many generations.
The star retired from acting at the age of 21 and became active in the world of politics. She held multiple diplomatic posts in Republican administrations, including ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the historic collapse of communism in 1989.
Temple was married twice, with her second husband passing away in 2006. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and went on to educate women about the disease.
Said a family statement in the wake of Temple’s death:
“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 of fifty-five years.”