From 1935 to 1939 Black was the most popular movie star in America and more photos were snapped of her than of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Black retired from acting at the age of 22 after starring in 23 motion pictures and winning an honorary Academy Award at the age of 6.
Her publicist, Cheryl Kagan, confirmed her death to the New York Times.
Following her marriage to Charles Alden Black in 1950, the former child star began raising funds for the Republican Party and eventually served as the United States Ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976. Temple went on to become President George H. W. Bush’s Ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989 and was on the job during the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
Black is also “widely credited with helping to make it acceptable to talk about breast cancer” after going public about her mastectomy when her left breast was removed in 1972.
Her family released a statement after her death:
“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.”
Shirley Jane Temple was born in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 23, 1928.