By Ben Brumfield
(CNN) — Shirley Temple Black, who rose to fame as arguably one of the most well-known child actresses in Hollywood history, died late Monday night, her publicist said.
She was 85.
Temple died of natural causes at her Woodside, California, home, surrounded by family and caregivers, a statement from Cheryl Kagan said.
She began acting at age 3 and starred in four massive box-office draws before she turned 10, commanding a then-unheard of $50,000 per movie.
Her first film of notice appeared in 1932, when she played the part of the “Baby Burlesks” in a series of short films called “War Babies.”
For about 18 years, she sang, tap-danced and acted her way into the hearts of millions.
In the earliest years, of her career, Twentieth Century Fox cranked out as many as 10 feature films a year with the adorable child star, the Internet Movie Database said.
But the pace slowed as she got little older. Temple and the studio terminated her contract in 1940, as she entered her teen years.
She retired from filmmaking at 22 and married Charles Black, changing her last name to Temple Black.
But she did not fade from the public eye. Far from it.
She embarked on a new career as a foreign diplomat: She served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974, was U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992.
“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 of fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black,” the statement said.
She remained a cultural icon for decades after stepping down from the silver screen.
Her corkscrew curls were popular with little girls from the 1930s through the 1970s.
In 1958, she made a comeback as an entertainer, this time on television, in her own hourlong show, “Shirley Temple’s Storybook.” It aired 38 episodes.
She later received two lifetime achievement awards for her performing career.
In 1972, Temple Black successfully battled breast cancer.
Funeral arrangements are pending. A remembrance guest book will be set up online at shirleytemple.com.
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