Shirley Temple was the darling and the biggest media icon of the 1930's. Having starred in over 40 films, her wealth exceeded ten million dollars at the time of her death at 10:37 p.m. Pacific time on Monday.
No one would have expected the abnormally adorable child of a middle income California family with no particularly extraordinary heritage to speak of, to become a beloved public figure, selling more merchandise than any other media sensation at that time. But after 'Bright Eyes,' in 1934, a breakaway hit that earned her a 'Juvenile Academy Award,' 20th Century Fox Studios signed Temple for more and more films, eventually hiring a group of writers to pen scripts exclusively for the precocious young actress.
Shirley Temple appeared in tens of movies in the next ten years or so, garnering great success and winning the adoration of millions. When she dropped out of show business at 22, it was because the public was still enamored with the rambunctious, dimpled "America's Little Darling," and not the blossoming young woman who came after.
Shirley is survived by three children, one from her first marriage with John Agar, Susan, who was born in 1948, and one from her second marriage with Charles Alden Black, which yielded two more children, Charles and Lori.
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The immediate family of Mrs. Temple/Black has released a statement saying, "We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black."