Shirley Temple passes away aged 85.

Hollywood actress and former child star Shirley Temple has died aged 85.

The American actress started her screen career at the age of three in 1932 and became known for films such as Bright Eyes, The Little Colonel, Poor Little Rich Girl and Heidi.

She lifted America's spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and later became a US diplomat.

She retired completely from the film industry by the age of 22 but went on to host Shirley Temple's Storybook and The Shirley Temple Show from 1958 to 1961.

In a statement, Temple's family said the actress died of natural causes and "peacefully passed away" on Monday at her home in California "surrounded by her family and caregivers".

"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 of 55 years," the statement said.