12. Shirley Temple Black
Shirley Temple achieved the status of America’s darling at the age of five when she appeared in Bright Eyes, a film written to showcase her talents. Between the ages of 3 and 10, she appeared in 29 films, her image marketed in dolls, clothes, posters, children’s literature, and cartoons. By early adolescence, her box office draw faded. In 1950, at the age of 22, she retired from motion pictures. Later in the decade, she returned to the public eye via the medium of television, though plans for her own sitcom never came to fruition. She did star in an hour-long anthology series in the late 1950s, but the show suffered from poor ratings throughout its run and ended in 1960.
She had a successful business career, sitting on several corporate boards, and her influence led her into a diplomatic career in the 1960s. President Nixon appointed her as a delegate to the United Nations (after she was recommended by Henry Kissinger), and she later served as Ambassador to Ghana and still later Czechoslovakia. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, then a subject considered taboo in public discussion, she underwent a radical mastectomy. Following the surgery she became one of the first people to openly discuss breast cancer awareness in the United States, publicly disclosing her treatment and encouraging women to examine themselves. She continued to speak about breast cancer for the rest of her life, reducing the stigma long associated with the disease, saving women’s lives. A lifelong smoker, she died of COPD in 2014 at the age of 85.