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In “Bright Eyes,” Temple introduced the song “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and did battle with a charmingly bratty Jane Withers, launching Withers as another major child star. As a bright-eyed orphan in “Curly Top,” she sang “Animal Crackers in My Soup.”

She was teamed with the legendary dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in two 1935 films with Civil War themes, “The Little Colonel” and “The Littlest Rebel.” Their tap dance up the steps in “The Little Colonel” (at a time when interracial teamings were rare in Hollywood) became a landmark in the history of dance on film.

Known for a remarkable ability to cry on cue, she won a special Academy Award at age 6 - and was presented with a miniature Oscar statuette - for her “outstanding contribution to screen entertainment.”

Temple and her movies were an escapist delight and a popular sensation. Mothers dressed their little girls like her, and a line of dolls that are now highly sought-after collectibles was launched.

Her fans seemed interested in every last golden curl on her head. Her mother, Gertrude, was said to have done her hair for each movie, with every hairstyle having exactly 56 curls.

Roosevelt once said: “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right. When the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time during this Depression, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”

Temple’s mother worked to keep her daughter from being spoiled by fame and was a constant presence during filming. Temple said years later that her mother had been furious when a director once sent the mother off on an errand and then got the child to cry for a scene by frightening her. “She never again left me alone on a set,” Temple said.

But Temple also suggested that in some ways, she grew up too soon. She stopped believing in Santa Claus at age 6, she once said, when “Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”

Decades later, her interest in politics brought her back into the spotlight.

She made an unsuccessful bid for Congress as a Republican in 1967. After Richard Nixon became president in 1969, he appointed her a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. General Assembly. In the 1970s, she was U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later U.S. chief of protocol.

A few months after she arrived in Prague in 1989, communist rule was overthrown in Czechoslovakia as the Iron Curtain collapsed across Eastern Europe.

“My main job (initially) was human rights, trying to keep people like future President Vaclav Havel out of jail,” she said in a 1999 Associated Press interview. Within months, she was accompanying Havel, the former dissident playwright, when he came to Washington as his country’s new president.

She considered her background in entertainment an asset to her political career.

“Politicians are actors too, don’t you think?” she once said. “Usually if you like people and you’re outgoing, not a shy little thing, you can do pretty well in politics.”

Born in Santa Monica, Calif., to an accountant and his wife, Temple had just turned 3 when she made her film debut in 1932 in the Baby Burlesks, a series of short films in which tiny performers parodied grown-up movies, sometimes with risque results.

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