Let’s pour out a few “Animal Crackers” for Shirley Temple Black. America’s Little Darling, who danced with Bojangles, inspired a timeless hairstyle and was credited with saving 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy, died of natural causes Monday at her home in California.
She was 85.
Her family said in a statement:
“She was surrounded by her family and caregivers. We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and… our beloved mother, grandmother [and] great-grandmother.”
Shirley landed her first movie role at the age of three. In 1935, she became the youngest person to receive an Academy Award — a record she still holds, mind you — when she won a special juvenile Oscar at age six. She starred in over 43 films, including Bright Eyes and Curly Top.
Black, who survived breast cancer in the 1970s, retired from showbiz at 21 and went on to live a quiet life as the diplomatic wife of conservative politician Charles Alden Black. The pair were married for 54 years, until Mr. Black’s death of bone marrow disease in 2005.
Temple also served as a U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.