Curly hair idol Shirley Temple Black died of natural causes at 85 years old last night, Feb. 10 in her in Woodside, California home surrounded by family and caregivers. Her inspiration goes beyond being a curly hair idol and one of the most recognizable childhood actors. Black retired from acting at the ripe age of 22 and transitioned from movies to the political arena after being featured in 57 films, 36 of which she starred in by the age of eight. She has over 25 storybook movies that have been compiled from her private library. Some include the stories The Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh, Madeline, and Land of Oz. With her dense film career, the childhood legend garnered the Academy Juvenile Award, Kennedy Centers Honors, and Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award during her lifetime. Her bubbly personality sparked the likings of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and she was honored to meet them at the age of seven.
Not only did Black bring hope to America through her box office films during the Great Depression, but she also brought hope to those afflicted by breast cancer. She was one of the first women to openly speak about her mastectomy and encourage women to undergo early detection measures and treatments. A few years following she became involved in public service and served as the United States Ambassador to Republic of Ghana (1974-1976), the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States (1976-1977), and then the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1989-1992). The original Hollywood child star is acknowledged as one of the few child actors who successfully transitioned to adulthood without overriding press coverage surrounding overindulgence of alcohol, drug abuse, or trouble with the law.
She is a household name in many American homes and even has a non-alcoholic beverage named in her honor. Her historical merchandise is not hard to come by in any antique thrift store and her memorabilia can be purchased at an array of e-commerce stores. In the 1940, women aspired to achieve the uniform “Shirley Temple curls” with marcel curling irons and rollers. Little girls emulated her adorable corkscrews and women were inspired to achieve these big barrel curls with magnetic rollers.
I am two generations removed from those who watched the loveable starlet’s films and even I have used the coined term “Shirley Temple curls” when describing a specific roller set. Unknowingly or aware, Black inspired many curlies to rock voluminous curls. There is not one flexi, magnetic, perm rod, or Caruso roller set that does not tail from the inspiration of Shirley Temple. If you Google “Shirley Temple curls” and click images, everything from dolls, children, celebrities, locs, extensions and natural hair vloggers populate. This curly star has left her mark with her chipper personality, remarkable talents, commendable service and timeless curls. She will be dearly missed and forever admired.