Tragic last days of Shirley Temple from 'The Wizard of Oz'

Junie Sihlangu
Apr 26, 2018
09:31 A.M.
Share this pen

The famous actress managed to live a long life despite her bad habits. When Shirley Temple passed on her family tried to lie about her cause of death.


They stated that she’d died from natural causes on February 10, 2014. But a month later, Daily Mail, revealed the real cause of her death and it had everything to do with her smoking addiction.

Shirley Temple died at the age of 85 in 2014 at her home in Woodside, California. At the time of her death, her family had claimed that she had died of natural causes.

But it was since revealed that the legendary actress was a lifelong smoker and had died from lung disease. Her death certificate, held at San Mateo County, stated that the real cause of her death was a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


COPD is America’s third biggest killer. It is known to have symptoms similar to chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Temple was a known chain-smoker all through her late teenage years. In an effort to protect her image, she later avoided displaying her bad habit in public.

'We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife for 55 years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black.'

Shirley Temple’s family, Daily Mail, March 4, 2018

In 1979 during an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the interviewer shared how the actress had waited until the television cameras had left the room before she could smoke. She told him that she felt guilty and didn’t want to be photographed smoking.


Temple said she didn't want to set a bad example for her fans.


But behind the cameras, she was still a heavy smoker who was addicted. The actress was born on April 23, 1928, in the Californian beach town of Santa Monica.

At just 3 years old, she was discovered by talent scouts.


She was given an appearance in the one-reel short, Poverty Row. Temple shot to fame when she was chosen to star in the 1934 film, Bright Eyes.


She was the world's number one box-office star from 1935 to 1938. Some of her well-known movies include Heidi (1937), Little Miss Broadway (1938), The Blue Bird (1940), Miss Annie Rooney (1942), and Kiss and Tell (1945).

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranking of the top 50 screen legends placed her at No. 18. This was in an overall list of 25 actresses.

Temple received the Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award amongst many other accolades.