She may not be the first kid WE think of when we make a list of uber-popular child stars, but to some of our parents and grandparents, Shirley Temple was a legend among legends. The little girl with the curls who got her big break in the movies when she was only 3 died late last night of natural causes. She was 85. Shirley starred in four box-office hits before she celebrated her 10th birthday and served as a beacon of light throughout the 1930s, when people were dealing with the hardships of the Great Depression. And, let's not forget, she probably has a great deal to do with why we have so many successful child actors and actresses these days -- not too shabby.
Shirley dealt with the same issue so many young stars today have: the public no longer wanted to see her act when she grew too big for her dimples. Instead of fighting the tide, she quit acting completely by the time she was 22, married Charles Black, and transitioned from actress to U.S. diplomat. She was an ambassador to Ghana and the former Czechoslovakia during the 1970s and '80s.
Shirley was the type of person who would set the perfect example for young celebs today. She took advantage of being in the spotlight when she had the opportunity and made a killing doing so, but was able to walk away with grace and class when the time was right. She then spent the rest of her days using her intelligence and natural compassion to give back and make a difference in the lives of others.
Still, Shirley will always best be remembered as a cheeky, adorable tot who lit up the screen. The American Film Institute named her the 18th greatest female screen legend of all time, and she has received two lifetime achievement awards.
Here's Shirley, at the height of her cuteness and fame, singing the legendary song "On the Good Ship Lollipop":
Have you ever seen any of Shirley Temple Black's films? Were your parents or grandparents fans of hers?
Image via YouTube