She was the biggest of child stars. She was the top U.S. box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, bigger than Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper or Joan Crawford. She retired from acting at age 21 and went on to a diplomatic career. Here’s a glimpse at the life of Shirley Temple Black, who died Monday at age 85:
• How many golden curls were on her head:
Her mother was said to have done her hair for each movie, with every hairstyle having exactly 56.
• When she stopped believing in Santa Claus:
At age 6, “Mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.”
• So famous they named a drink after her:
The kid’s cocktail for the ages: ginger ale and grenadine, topped with a maraschino cherry.
• How she lifted people’s spirits during the Depression:
“… It is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said.
• How she learned to cry on cue:
“I guess I was an early method actress. I would go to a quiet part of the sound stage with my mother. I wouldn’t think of anything sad, I would just make my mind a blank. In a minute I could cry. I didn’t like to cry after lunch, because I was too content.”
• Why she didn’t play Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”:
20th Century Fox chief Darryl Zanuck refused to lend her out for the 1939 classic.
• Her advice for those aiming for a lifetime achievement award:
“Start early,” she said in 2006 when honored by the Screen Actors Guild.