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Hollywood icon SHIRLEY TEMPLE dead at 85 of natural causes.
Forever immortalized as the curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has enter cinematic Valhalla.
Known privately as Shirley Temple Black she died last night about 11 PM at her longtime home in San Francisco, surrounded by family and caregivers.
An ultra-talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America's top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near.
Temple was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy with films such as "Curly Top" and "The Littlest Rebel" and after a string of hits Temple became a nationwide sensation.
She won a special Academy Award in early 1935 for her "outstanding contribution to screen entertainment" .
Temple blossomed into a pretty young woman but interest waned and she retired from films at 21.
She did meet hubby #1 John Agar on the set of John Ford's oater "Fort Apache". They divorced after he succumbed to booze.
Shirley raised a family and later became active in politics and held several diplomatic posts in Republican administrations, including ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the historic collapse of communism in 1989.
"I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the lifetime achievement award. Start early," she quipped in 2006
But she also said that evening that her greatest roles were as wife, mother and grandmother. "There's nothing like real love. Nothing."
Charles Black, her husband of over 50 years, died in 2005.
Born in Santa Monica to an accountant and his wife, Temple was little more than 3 years old when she made her film debut in 1932 in the Baby Burlesks.
Her young life was free of the tabloid scandals that plagued so many other child stars but Temple said she may have missed the joys of childhood by becoming a success so young.
She stopped believing in Santa Claus at age 6, she confessed when "Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."