Most of our readers were born several decades after Shirley Temple's heyday, but the image of that precocious girl with the bouncy sausage curls, impish smile, and mad dancing skills proved time immemorial. Long before Webster, Macaulay, and the Pepsi girl entered our consciousness, we were stuck on Shirley. It didn't matter that her films were mostly in black and white, or that she was actually closer in age to our grandmothers. She was Mickey Mouse sprung to life, cheerful and inspiring and in possession of some seriously covetable costumes.
It's with great sadness, then, that we report that the iconic child star has sailed off on the Good Ship Lollipop, passing away at the age of 85 on Monday night. The cause of death has not been revealed.
The star's childhood in the '30s — during which time she made 23 films, won a Juvenile Academy Award at age 6, and inspired a pretty tasty non-alcoholic beverage — were defined by saucy one-liners, energetic tap dances, and belt-busting songs like "Animal Crackers In My Soup." In later life, she turned to diplomacy (under her married name of Shirley Temple Black), raised a family, and supported several charities. She was also one of the first celebrities to speak out about breast cancer when she publicized her mastectomy in 1972.
"As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right," FDR once said of the Depression-era cutie. We may no longer have her, but we'll always have her movies. Anyone else planning to spend the day on YouTube? (The New York Times)