One of her first film roles was in Bright Eyes, for which she won a special Academy Award. It was in that film that she sang "On the Good Ship Lollipop". Though she often sang in her films, that was probably her most famous song. She subsequently starred in many films including Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Susannah of the Mounties.
Temple retired from film acting in her early twenties. Later appearances on television did not prove as popular as her films.
Temple married the California businessman Charles Black in 1950, and subsequently became involved in Republican Party politics under the name Shirley Temple Black. She held several diplomatic posts, representing the United States in the United Nations in 1969-70 and serving as American ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She received Kennedy Center Honors in 1998.