Shirley Temple Black, one of the first child prodigies in the movies and a gold mine for Hollywood, has died. She was 85.
The actress, who sang, danced, had perfect blonde ringlets, and above all attracted huge audiences for Fox in an America weathering the Great Depression, died on Monday.
Shirley Jane Temple, born on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California, to a banker and a housewife, made her movie debut just after turning 3.
Her achievements went beyond the movies, from which she retired in her early 20s, to reinvent herself as a diplomat. She also left her mark by becoming the first female chief of protocol at the White House.
She starred in more than 40 movies designed just for her, like "Poor Little Rich Girl" in 1936 and "The Little Princess" in 1939, though director John Ford also signed her up for the 1948 film "Fort Apache" to play the daughter of Henry Fonda.
Such was her fame that even Salvador Dali transformed her into a surrealist beast in one of his paintings, and while still only 6 years old, Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences awarded her a special Oscar for her "extraordinary gifts."
Metro Goldwyn Mayer wanted her to star in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," but Fox founder Darryl F. Zanuck this time refused the deal and the role went to Judy Garland.
Her political and diplomatic career took off years later.
President Richard Nixon named her to the U.S. diplomatic mission to the United Nations in 1969, and she was ambassador to Ghana between 1974-1976, after which she became chief of protocol at the White House, and was ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
Her first marriage at 17 to actor John Agar, with whom she had daughter Susan, ended in divorce. She married businessman Charles Alden Black in 1950, and they had a boy and a girl, Charles Jr. and Lori. EFE