When one thinks about a child star the name Shirley Temple immediately comes to mind. Shirley Temple Black, 85, died Monday night of natural causes at home. Her movies played frequently on TV during weekend mornings for baby boomers. These memorable films were “Heidi,” “Bright Eyes,” singing her defining song “On the Good Ship Lollipop”, and in “The Little Colonel,” dancing with Bill Bojangles Robinson on the stairs while breaking racial boundaries.
Who can forget her adorable chubby cheeks, tight curly hair, and pouty lips? Those became her signature look. Her transition to films as a teenager and young adult was marginally successful at best. Her only notable film during this period would be “The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.” This critically-acclaimed romantic comedy from 1947 starred the ever dashing Cary Grant. After leaving films for good, Mrs. Black became involved in politics that took her to Africa and Eastern Europe. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about the one and only Shirley Temple Black.
-Her trademark song “On the Good Ship Lollipop” actually takes place aboard an airplane and not a ship, as in a water vessel. During the time when the film was released in 1934 commercial aircraft were commonly known as airships.
-She is one of many famous faces to grace the cover of the Beatles iconic album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Almost 50 years ago in August 1964, Mrs. Black and her 10-year-old daughter attended a Beatles concert in San Francisco. Paul McCartney invited them backstage afterwards to pose for a photograph.
-Oscar-winning actresses Shirley MacLaine and Shirley Jones (best known for her maternal role as Shirley Partridge in “The Partridge Family.”) were named after the famous child star.
-Her mother did all her pin curls for every movie. Each time she had exactly 56 curls.
-From 1935 to 1939 Temple was the most famous movie star, while heartthrob Clark Gable reigned far behind in second place.
-A famous non-alcoholic drink is still named in her honor, the Shirley Temple. It comprises of lemon-lime soda, grenadine, and a delicious maraschino cherry. A favorite celebrity haunt during the Golden Age of Hollywood, The Brown Derby Restaurant, created this drink. .
-After marrying Charles Alden Black in 1950, and taking his name professionally, she dropped out of films for good, and began a new life into politics. Her marriage to Charles Black lasted until his death in 2005. She has a daughter Susan from her first marriage and two children with Charles, Charles Jr. and Lori.
-Black’s political career began in 1967 when she ran for Congress, but lost the race to Pete McCloskey. President Nixon appointed her in 1969 to a five-member United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. From 1974 to 1976 she was appointed by President Ford to become the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. Later she would serve as Ford’s chief of protocol from 1976 to 1977. George H.W. Bush in 1989 appointed her ambassador to Czechoslovakia shortly after the fall of communism.