Shirley Temple Black died yesterday at 85 years old. She didn't just leave behind a legacy as a child star — Temple Black was also a public servant with a pretty intriguing and romantic private life.
The world couldn't bear to watch Shirley Temple grow up and morph from an apple-cheeked screen darling with 56 perfect blond ringlets into a young woman, so she retired from the silver screen early — she was only 20!
Temple Black didn't just retire young, either. She also married young. When she was only 15 years old, Temple met John Agar, an Army Air Corps sergeant and physical training instructor, when she went to school with his sister. Two years later when Temple was only 17, she and Agar married in front of 500 guests at an Episcopal church on September 19, 1945.
Three years later, Temple gave birth to a daughter with Agar, Linda Susan.
Soon, Temple used her connections to get Agar acting work. The couple starred in two films together, Fort Apache and Adventure In Baltimore. Unfortunately, mixing business with pleasure proved problematic, and the marriage suffered. In 1949, Temple filed for divorce from Agar, gaining custody of Linda Susan and restoring her maiden name. The divorce was finalized in December 1950 — and it all happened by the time Temple was just 22 years old.
Thankfully, Temple's first marriage didn't taint her views on love. In January 1950, Temple met Charles Alden Black. Alden Black was a World War II United States Navy intelligence officer (he even nabbed a Silver Star) and worked as the assistant to the President of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Alden Black was also an heir with his own money, so he didn't need to chase hers — he was the son of James B. Black, who became chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric. The couple got married in Alden Black's parents' home in Del Monte, California in December 1950. The affair was smaller than Temple's first wedding, but no less special.
When the Korean War broke out, Alden Black was called back to the Navy and the pair moved to Washington, D.C. Temple Black gave birth to their first child, Charles Alden Black, Jr., in April 1952. When the war was finally over, Alden Black was discharged from the Navy, allowing the family to move back to California by May 1953. Black became a television station manager, while Temple Black got comfortable in her newest role: stay at home mom. She'd later pull double duty, giving birth to daughter Lori Alden Black in April 1954.
All the while she was raising her children, Temple Black was also a major Republican fundraising face as well as a diplomat. Richard Nixon appointed the former starlet to the United Nations General Assembly in 1969. Temple Black went on to become ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, was President Gerald R. Ford's chief of protocol in 1976 and 1977, and was chosen as President George H. W. Bush's ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989 — even serving during the fall of communism. KEEP READING!
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