Shirley Temple–child star and United States ambassador–has died. Franklin D. Roosevelt said that the lovable curly-haired moppet had saved America during the Depression with her high spirits and talent. The New York Times called her a model child star–certainly Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber could have taken page out her book.
At the peak of her fame in the mid-1930s there were Shirley Temple dolls, Shirley Temple dresses, Shirley Temple china, Shirley Temple notebooks, Shirley Temple soap and Shirley Temple sheet music. There was a nonalcoholic cocktail — ginger ale with a touch of grenadine, topped with a maraschino cherry — named for her.
She was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1934. She was the No. 1 box office star in the nation from 1935 to 1938. She almost single-handedly led 20th Century Fox, her studio, back to profitability.
She was so well-known, so iconic, that even the number of curls in her hair was publicized. (It’s 56, incidentally.)
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was 6,” she once wrote. “Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”