Who Was Shirley Temple? Google Doodle Honors Hollywood Star Turned Diplomat
Today's Google Doodle celebrates American actor, singer, dancer, and diplomat Shirley Temple.
Google's decision to celebrate Temple on June 9 with a Google Doodle—a special temporary alteration to its homepage logo that commemorates holidays, events, achievements and historical figures—isn't casual.
It was on this date in 2015 that Temple's hometown of Santa Monica, California, opened "Love, Shirley Temple," a special exhibit held at the Santa Monica History Museum featuring a collection of her rare memorabilia.
Born in 1928, Temple was barely six-year-old when she captured the imagination of a nation as she secured a role in the toe-tapping musical Stand Up and Cheer in 1934, a year in which she starred in a dozen movies including Bright Eyes, where she performed On the Good Ship Lollipop, which became to be known as one of her most famous routines.
A year later, Temple received a special Juvenile Academy Award for her outstanding contribution as juvenile performer in movies. By the time she turned 10, Temple had already appeared in 29 different movies and was one of Hollywood's brightest and youngest stars featuring in major commercial hits such as Heidi and Curly Top.
Her success extended beyond the world of cinema, as in 1942 she became the star of Junior Miss, a radio sitcom about a teenage girl growing up in New York City. Her involvement in Hollywood, however, would soon be scaled down as she appeared in just 14 movies between the age of 14 and 21, before retiring from the movie industry in 1950 at the age of 22.
Eight years later, Temple returned to showbiz with the eponymous Shirley Temple's Storybook, a two-season TV series of fairy tale adaptations, which marked her final appearance in the world of entertainment.
Having sat on the board of major U.S. companies and organisations like The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods and the National Wildlife Federation, Temple began a career in public service in 1967, when she unsuccessfully ran as a Republican candidate in a special election in California's 11th congressional district to fill the seat left vacant by the late J. Arthur Younger, who had died of leukaemia.
While her bid ultimately fell short, two years later she was appointed to represent the U.S. at the United Nations by President Richard Nixon. In 1974, President Gerald Ford appointed her as the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, a role she held for just under two years before becoming the first female Chief of Protocol of the U.S. during the Jimmy Carter administration.
Two years earlier, Temple had survived breast cancer and her public disclosure of the disease was credited as a major step towards improving breast cancer awareness.
Temple was again a trailblazer in 1989, when she became the first woman to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia after being appointed by President George H.W. Bush. During her three-year spell in the role, Temple witnessed a landmark moment in the history of Czechoslovakia, as the Velvet Revolution brought an end to the Communist rule in the country, as part of widespread movements across the bloc that ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 2006, the Screen Actors Guild presented Temple with its Lifetime Achievement Award, the organisation's highest honor, for her contribution to the movie industry. Eight years later, on February 10, 2014, Temple died aged 85 in Woodside, California.