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 kept children singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” for generations, retired from acting at age 21 and went on to a diplomatic career. Here’s a look at the life of Shirley Temple, who died Monday at age 85:
1. 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.
2. 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.”
3. SO FAMOUS THEY NAMED A DRINK AFTER HER
The kid’s cocktail for the ages: ginger ale and grenadine, topped with a maraschino cherry.
4. 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.
5. 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.”
6. …AND HOW IT CAME IN HANDY AT AGE 21
Driving up the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu in a red convertible, she was stopped for speeding. She turned on the tears, and the officers ended up escorting her home.
7. 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.
8. WHO PAVED THE WAY FOR HER TO BECOME A DIPLOMAT
Richard Nixon appointed her to the U.S. delegation to the UN. She went on to become U.S. ambassador to Ghana, U.S. chief of protocol and ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
9. HOW RONALD REAGAN ECLIPSED HER
It wasn’t on screen: His election cemented his role as America’s most famous actor turned public servant. (They had starred together in “That Hagen Girl” in 1947.)
10. HER ADVICE FOR THOSE AIMING FOR A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
“Start early,” she said in 2006 when honored by the Screen Actors Guild.