Shirley Temple accomplished a great deal over the course of her life, both professionally and personally, and is regarded as one of the greatest screen stars in cinema history. We remember her life and career by taking a look back to all of the iconic Shirley Temple moments throughout the years. She made her screen debut at the age of three, in the film Red Haired Alibi, but her break out role came two years later, in 1934, when she starred in Stand Up and Cheer! The studio was apparently so impressed with her performance that they began promoting her well ahead of the film’s release, and in a matter of months, she was a star.
After her song-and-dance number “Baby, Take a Bow” in the 1934 movie Stand Up and Cheer, Fox signed her to her first long-term contract, at a salary of $150 a week plus $25 for her mother to take care of her.
She achieved a cinematic milestone in race relations as the first white actress to hold hands with an African-American actor – Bill “Bojangles” Robinson – in 1935′s The Little Colonel. Here are some scenes of her tap-dancing with Robinson.
The Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood created a nonalcoholic drink – lemon-lime soda mixed with granadine, topped with a maraschino cherry – that was named after her.
In the 1934 film Little Miss Marker, she aroused controversy by uttering expressions such as “Scram!” and “Nix to that!” at the time considered too vulgar for a child. Here she is, singing the song “Laugh, You Son of a Gun” with Dorothy Dell.
At age 8, she received 135,000 birthday presents from fans, according to a 1969 New York Times profile.
As her stardom faded during her teenage years, she attended the Westlake School for Girls and at age 16 married a 24-year-old Army Air Corps sergeant, John Agar. A couple of months after she divorced Agar, she met Charles Alden Black, who claimed that he’d never seen any of her films. Their marriage lasted 55 years, until his death in 2005.
As a grownup, she became a co-founder of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies, after her brother George, a former gymnast, developed the disease.
In her forties, Black entered politics, running unsuccessfully in a Republican Congressional primary. But her political fundraising prowess – she garnered nearly $1 million for the GOP – led President Richard Nixon to reward her with an appointment as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations in 1969. She later served stints as ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
In 1972, Black became a pioneer in raising awareness of breast cancer. She held a press conference to announce that she had undergone a mastectomy because of the disease. “Don’t sit home and be afraid,” she counseled. “Don’t let vanity get in your way. It’s not so bad.”