Shirley Temple Black, who gained fame as a child star in the 1930s and went on to become a U.S. ambassador, died Monday at her home in Woodside, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports. The cause of death was not released.
Born in Santa Monica, Calif., Black starred in her first film at the age of 3 and had appeared in more than 40 movies by the time she was 12.
As a child star, she was recognized by her signature ringlets in films like Curly Top, Stand Up and Cheer, The Little Princess and Bright Eyes, which included her star-making performance of "On the Good Ship Lollipop."
In 1935, Black became the first child star who was awarded an honorary Oscar. But as she got older, her popularity waned and she retired from films in 1950. She continued to appear on television throughout the 1950s and '60s and briefly had her own show, The Shirley Temple Show. Though she made more than $3 million from her film career, most of it was lost due to poor financial decisions by her parents by the time Black was in her early 20s, according to theTimes.
After she stopped acting, Black became active in the Republican Party in California. She unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1967, but was appointed by President Richard Nixon as a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly in 1969. She also served as the U.S. ambassador to Ghana under President Gerald Ford, and later the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia under President George H.W. Bush. In the mid-1970s, she was also the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States.
Black also served on several boards of directors for companies including the Walt Disney Company, Bank of America and the National Wildlife Federation.
Black was married twice. In 1945, at age 17, she married John Agar and they divorced in 1949. In 1950, she married Charles Alden Black and they stayed married until his death in 2005. She also survived a bout with breast cancer in the early 1970s.
Black is survived by a son, two daughters, a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters, the Times reports.