She sang and tap danced her way into the hearts of anyone who watched her perform. She was adorable and talented. Shirley Temple became America’s first and most famous child star.
Temple, 85, died Monday at her home near San Francisco with loved ones near.
Temple retired from show business at age 21 and went on to marry, raise her children and then serve her country as a diplomat under Republican administrations. In the 1970s, she was U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later U.S. chief of protocol. She served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
Her legacy to America cannot be overstated – even as a child she was beloved around the world. When she turned 9 (intentionally publicized as 8 by the studio) she received 135,000 gifts from admirers around the world – including a baby kangaroo from Australia and a Jersey calf from children in Oregon. She once reported that when she went to visit Santa, he asked her for her autograph.
While Shirley Temple will be remembered for her entertainment during times of struggle, war and uncertainty, Temple says her greatest achievements are that of being a wife, mother and grandmother.
In a world of celebrities gone mad with excess, today seems a time to toast - with a Shirley Temple drink, of course – a woman who shared her gifts of entertaining, diplomacy and love for her family. Lessons we can all take to heart.