Shirley Temple Black, 1928-2014

by Dave Schuler on February 11, 2014

Who was the top box office movie star of 1935? 1936? 1937? 1938? It wasn’t Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, or Ginger Rogers. It was Shirley Temple and she has died at age 85:

WOODSIDE, Calif. — Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.

Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died at her home near San Francisco.

A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America’s top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranking of the top 50 screen legends ranked Temple at No. 18 among the 25 actresses. She appeared in scores of movies and kept children singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” for generations.

After her spectacular film career as a child performer she went on to a moderately successful film career as a young woman, a brief career on television, a long, happy marriage to Charles Black, and a accomplished career in politics. Unlike many child actors she seemed to have a well-adjusted, good life after show business. I would recommend her autobiography, Child Star.

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