Shirley Temple, iconic child star, dies at 85

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we'll be all right."

The dimpled, curly-haired child star sang and danced her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers in a film career that began when she was three years old.

Shirley Temple died last night at her home near San Francisco at the age of 85.

After retiring from films at 21, she raised a family and later became active in politics, holding several diplomatic posts in Republican administrations. When she was honored by the Screen Actors Guild in 2006, she said her greatest roles had been as wife, mother and grandmother.

The talented youngster was America's top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record that no other child star has come near. She was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy, with films such as "Curly Top" and "The Littlest Rebel."

She became a nationwide sensation. Mothers dressed their little girls like her, and a line of dolls was launched that are now highly sought-after collectibles.

And her ability to lift the nation's spirits during the Depression was noted by FDR, who said, "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."