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Shirley Temple Dies At Age 8507:57
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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.

Actress Shirley Temple Black arrives at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Actress Shirley Temple Black arrives at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died Monday night at about 11 p.m. at her home near San Francisco. She was surrounded by family members and caregivers, Kagan said.

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.

Temple was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy with films such as "Curly Top" and "The Littlest Rebel." She even had a drink named after her, an appropriately sweet and innocent cocktail of ginger ale and grenadine, topped with a maraschino cherry.

Temple blossomed into a pretty young woman, but audiences lost interest, and she retired from films at 21. She raised a family and later became active in politics and held several diplomatic posts in Republican administrations, including ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the historic collapse of communism in 1989.

Patsy Guy Hammontree, who wrote a biography of Shirley Temple Black, joins Here & Now's Robin Young to discuss her career.

Interview Highlights: Patsy Guy Hammontree

On why Shirley Temple was loved by so many people

"More than just symbolizing, she was a symbol. She symbolized hope and optimism and people could go to her films and feel good; they were always up beat. No morbid films for Shirley because people had enough morbid things going on around them."

On Shirley Temple’s relationship with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson

"It was a very close relationship. He was very good to her, gave her gifts after that film. And she enjoyed him; he taught her some dance steps. Of course that was much enjoyed by the audience. There was some resistance to it in some Southern states. She said herself on Larry King’s show in 1988 that she’d been told some that Southern theaters wouldn't screen this film, but that she’d never heard anything specific. That famous dance scene up and down the steps is what captured people's interest. And Shirley’s power was so great and she was so popular that it just overcame anything that might be negative, except possibly in a few instances."

On why her film career didn't last beyond her childhood years

"The country wanted a different type of hero or heroine. They weren't so interested in optimistic help and she was so sweet. She was not really a perfectly skilled actress, she didn't have to act in all of those movies in which she was so popular."

Guest

This segment aired on February 11, 2014.

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