Tony Winner June Lockhart on Passing of Shirley Temple Black: 'She Was One of a Kind'
Hollywood legend and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black has passed away at the age of 85. The film and television actress, singer and dancer died on Monday, February 10th. The news was shared by a spokesperson for the family.
Tony winner June Lockhart released the following statement on her time with Shirley:
"Shirley came into Westlake School for Girls as a freshman. It was her first experience with other students, as she was tutored at FOX Studio earlier. We became friends and she was great fun. It was Shirley's first time with a uniform dress code and no lipstick was allowed. She joined the drill team and I was the captain. While we were at Westlake we did the film 'Miss Annie Rooney', and Shirley had her first screen kiss. In 1959 she did 'Shirley Temple Story Book Theatre' on ABC. She owned, hosted and produced this show. We did one show together, 'Beauty and the Beast'."
"She was one of a kind and will be missed," Lockhart said.
Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three, and in 1934, found international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934, and film hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid-to-late 1930s. Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Her box office popularity waned as she reached adolescence, and she left the film industry in her teens. She appeared in a few films of varying quality in her mid-to-late teens, and retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22. She was the top box-office draw four years in a row (1935-38) in a Motion Picture Herald poll.
Temple returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. She made guest appearances on television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released. She sat on the boards of corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for United States Congress, and was appointed United States Ambassadorto Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989. In 1988, she published her autobiography, Child Star. Temple is the recipient of awards and honors including Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
She is No. 18 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female American screen legends of all time.