Shirley Temple Black – more than just a child star
Shirley Temple Black passed away Monday, February 10th at the age of 85. Most people remember her as the little girl in the black and white movies from the 1930s, but she was more than just an adorable face on the silver screen. She gave people in the Depression-era an image of hope and inspiration when they watched her movies. She crossed color-barriers by dancing hand-in-hand with Bill Bojangles Robinson, a black actor and dancer. A small white girl and an adult black male singing and dancing together clearly ruffled the feathers of people across America, especially in the deep South. Her personality and screen presence drew moviegoers to the theaters and kept Fox from going into bankruptcy. She retired from film at the age of 21 and later turned to the global political stage. She was appointed as delegate to the United Nations in the 1960s by President Nixon and later served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
NPR presented two detailed reports on her life after her passing this week. You can listen to the shows or read the transcripts here:
One of the most famous childhood stars of all times, Shirley Temple Black has died. Remembered for her curls and acting talent, she became the face of hope during the Great Depression.
In the wake of her passing, remembrances of Shirley Temple Black have often focused on her fame as a child star, but she also long served as an ambassador — to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. To find out more about Black’s diplomatic service, Melissa Block speaks with Charles Gati, the State Department consultant who prepared Black for her post in Czechoslovakia.