Shirley Temple's
Adult Life
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Shirley Temple met Charles Black in Hawaii. They were married in 1950 in a private ceremony at her parents home in Monterey California. Charles legally adopted Susan. Charles Black had never seen a Shirley Temple movie! The Blacks would have two more children, Charles Junior, and Lori Alden. Shirley would spend the next few years of her life, happy, being a wife and mother.
From 1957 to 1959 Temple narrated the television series "Shirley Temple's Storybook." Shirley was the narrator and would introduce the show for the evening. These stories were most often a version of a fairytale. At times, Shirley would even act in them. Her children also made appearances. Television opened up a whole new generation to her and her movies. Four of her childhood movies were put on television, Wee Willie Winkie, Rebecca of Sunnybook Farm, Captain January, and Heidi. Shirley Temple mania started all over again! Ideal produced Shirley Temple dolls again in vinyl form. Saafield published Shirley Temple books, paper dolls, and scrapbooks. Cinderella and Nanette again made dresses for young girls.
Shirley became active in community service, including much charity work and a large part in the speaking on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, because, George, one of her brothers had developed Multiple Sclerosis. In 1967, Shirley ran, unsuccessfully, as a Republican candidate for the Congress of the United States. President Nixon appointed her to be a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations (1969-1970). Shirley explained her interest in politics. “I entertained people during the first half of my life through films, and I decided to spend the rest of my life serving people...”
Mrs. Black had breast cancer in 1972 she underwent a simple mastectomy. She went public with her illness and received numerous letters of support. She was responsible for encouraging many women to have an examination. In 1972, Shirley was appointed to the U.S. Preparatory Committee for the U.N. sponsored conference in Stockholm. Shirley received the Sarah Coventry Trophy for being named Woman of the Year at the U.N. in 1972.
Shirley was U.S. ambassador to Ghana (1974-1976), and became the first woman in U.S. history to serve as Chief of Protocol (1976-1977), during the administration of President Gerald R. Ford. As Chief of Protocol, she was in charge of implementation of all State Department visits, ceremonies, gifts for foreign heads of state, and liaison to all foreign embassies and consulates located in the U.S.A. Protocol is the diplomatic procedure governed by law or international custom and practice. The Department of State first established a Division of Protocol in 1928. All incumbents since 1961 have held the rank of Ambassador. In 1989 President George Bush appointed her ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Her autobiography, Child Star, was published in 1988.
Although Mrs. Black’s diplomatic skills kept her busy in the political arena, Mrs. Black has also lent her expertise in the business sector sitting on the Corporate Board of Directors for such major companies as Del Monte, the National Wildlife Federation, Disney, and the United States Association for the United Nations. She has also served as a member United States Commission for UNESCO.
Some of the skills that have been critical to her success include negotiating skills, studying international events and problem areas, and most importantly, teamwork. Her personal contacts with both Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart gave her drive and perseverance, and Mrs. Black credits them both with being her key role models. Shirley has said in her adult life, “everything I’ve done in my life has directed me to this kind of career. Little Shirley opened a lot of doors for me, but if you don’t have something to contribute, the doors can close very rapidly. We all learn a lot from the past - it’s just that we shouldn’t live there. I don’t want to sit in a lovely house and look at old scrapbooks. I like to work. But I’ll never make another movie, those days are over. I loved my life as a child. But this I find much harder work. There’s no ending to the stories; its not like having a script where it all works out neatly.” Shirley Temple died on February 10, 2014, at the age of 85. She was at her home in California, surrounded by family and caregivers. Her family said she died of natural causes.