Shirley Temple Black dies at her home in Woodside


By Almanac Staff

Shirley Temple Black died Monday night at her home in Woodside. She was 85.

Ms. Black, considered the most popular child movie star of all time, lived in Woodside since 1961.

Surrounded by family members on Monday night, Ms. Black died peacefully of natural causes, the family said.

"We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife for fifty-five year of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black," the family said in a statement.

She started her acting career at age 3 and starred in such hits as "Stand Up and Cheer" and "The Little Colonel." She ruled the box office in the 1930s.

After marrying in 1950 and leaving her Hollywood career behind, she lived in Woodside for much of her life.

She met Charles Alden Black in 1950 when she was vacationing in Honolulu. A party was given in her honor and Mr. Black, a handsome young bachelor, was invited.

He surfed every night after work and told the hostess he wouldn't come to the party if the surf was up. "We would never have met if the surfing was good that day," Ms. Black said. The couple was married later that year at his parents' Monterey ranch.

Mr. Black, an internationally recognized marine expert, died Aug. 4, 2005. They were married for 55 years, and had two children, Charles Jr. and Lori. Susan Falaschi is Ms. Black's daughter by a previous marriage.

After retiring from her film career at age 21, Shirley Temple Black became active in politics and held several diplomatic posts. She was U.S. ambassador to Ghana, and later to Czechoslovakia during the collapse of the communist regime there in 1989.

In 1967, Pete McCloskey beat Shirley Temple Black and nine other candidates to win a seat in Congress.

Woodsiders would see her in town, and ordinary moments became memorable. Thalia Lubin recalls saying hello to her a couple of times in Roberts Market in the checkout line. "There she was bagging her own groceries."

George Roberts, the owner of Roberts Market in Woodside said: "She just was a very down-to-earth person, not like a celebrity. It was just a joy to know her. She was just like the gal next door. ... It's been years since we've seen her."

In the late 1970s, she was grand marshal of the Woodside May Day parade.

Woodside Mayor David Burow said the Town Council will recognize her passing at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Feb. 11).

She served as a president of the Commonwealth Club of California and received many honors, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2006. She was given a special juvenile Academy Award in 1935.

Funeral arrangements are pending and will be private, the family said.

For those wishing to make a donation in her memory, the family suggests either the Education Center at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles or the Commonwealth Club of California's 2nd Century Campaign.

Shirley Temple Black website.

● Charles Black obituary Aug. 10, 2005

● Marion Softky's 1995 cover story on Shirley Temple Black (May 10, 1995)


Like this comment
Posted by Dennis Anderson
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Shirley Temple -- America's Sweetheart -- woke me up in bed one morning!

It was about 7 a,m, on a Saturday, and the Redwood City Tribune had gone to press about five hours earlier. I was city editor.
Mrs. Black telephoned me to complain that we had associated her with the wrong charity in a story in that morning's newspaper.

I have forgotten the details, but who forgets being awakened in bed at home by the once most popular movie star in America!

Like this comment
Posted by Second generation fan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Thank you, Shirley Temple, for the countless hours of joy you created and leave behind. More than that, thank you for the example of a life well lived.

Like this comment
Posted by Frank Atkinson
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Dennis Anderson, is that you (former sports writer for the Redwood City Tribune)?. Hope you remember me as an old M-A jock.

I saw Mrs. Black at my home on Eleanor Drive often. She was my mother's bridge partner. This was in the late 50's.

Like this comment
Posted by FM
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I remember seeing Shirley Temple Black dining at the O'Mei restaurant and in line at Draeger's.

Like this comment
Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

A year younger than Ms. Black, I remember my father taking me to my first movie, in Ludwigshafen, Germany. I must have been four or five. It was "The Little Colonel" and probably had been dubbed into German although I can't recall that. I do remember that I was dazzled by the entire experience. Shirley Temple was my wonderful introduction to cinema, which I have loved all my life. Those too young to have seen early Shirley Temple films of the '30s would be amazed to see the enormous talent and charisma displayed by this precocious prodigal performer.

Thank you, Shirley Temple Black.

Like this comment
Posted by roc
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2014 at 8:54 am

A beautiful person. A life well lived. Thank you for the inspiration you had provided to millions around the world.

From Roc, in Malaysia.

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