Despite retiring as an actor at 21, Temple has an extensive, award-winning filmography that includes Heidi, The Little Princess and The Littlest Rebel. She became the first performer to receive a juvenile Academy Award in 1934 at just 6 years old. She is one of only 12 recipients of this honor.
After retiring from film, Temple moved on to a political career with the Republican party, but lost her first election to represent California’s 11th district. She was appointed by Richard Nixon to the United Nations General Assembly two years later, and would go on to serve as U.S. ambassador to Ghana under Gerald Ford and to Czechoslovakia under George H. W. Bush. Also during the Ford administration, she became the first woman Chief of Protocol of the United States.
Temple beat cancer in 1972, undergoing a mastectomy. She was one of the first celebrities to publicly announce the diagnosis.
Temple had three children, the youngest of whom is 59. BBC reports she died in her home surrounded by family and caregivers.