• Erik Fogel

Shirley Temple. From Hollywood Star to United States Diplomat.


Today we celebrate the birthday of Shirley Temple, born on April 23, 1928 and passed on February 10th, 2014.Actress. Singer. Dancer. Businesswoman. Diplomat. #1 Hollywood Box Office Star. Chief of Protocol of the United States and first woman to serve in this position. US Ambassador to Ghana. US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Ran for Congress. Author. Health Advocate. A lifetime of service to people… beginning at the age of three!!!!!! “My hand always goes up first,” she said at the opportunity to serve people. “I have always told anyone who would listen that I was available for more public service.” As you will read below she worked hundreds of positions in every sector of life. Temple did admit there were two things she never was able to do sadly, “I wanted to be in the FBI. I also wanted to be a pie salesman!”

Temple began her film career at the age of three in 1932. Received an honorary Academy Award at the age of 6! First Juvenile Academy Award ever and youngest ever by the Academy. Altogether she appeared in 29 films from the ages of 3 to 10. But these were not the usual Hollywood films and times, this was during one of America’s most challenging times - the Great Depression where millions left homeless, jobless, and hungry. Temple became a national hero in bringing smiles and cheer to millions of hearts. Even the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt gave her a national compliment of how she was helping so many. He had to because she was more popular than the President, and even photographed more often then the President! In fact, American aviator hero, Amelia Earhart shared chewing gum with her! Even Santa Clause asked for her autograph. ““I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”


Her Hollywood career was not without countless obstacles, from unequal pay, sexism, and harassment - Temple overcame all. A prominent male Producer dropped his pants and exposed himself to her - she laughed at him and she was thrown out of the office. According to Temple, “One famous movie executive who shall remain nameless, exposed himself to me in his office. 'Mr X,' I said, 'I thought you were a producer not an exhibitor'.”

Hollywood Racism. Temple became one of the first white actresses to hold hands affectionately with an African American on film. Indeed, she spent her life fighting for the rights of others. “If you hear someone scream, you shouldn't close the drapes. You should help. You've got to try.” - Shirley Temple. Temple retired from film at the age of 22! But she was only getting started!


Temple then went into business. She would make guest appearances on television. She sat on the boards of major corporations including The Walt Disney Company, Bank of America, United Nations Association, Bank of California, and Del Monte Foods. But she was only getting started!


Temple worked on behalf of countless nonprofits. She served on the board of the National Wildlife Federation, she was President of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, she was co-Founder of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies. She was very passionate about this issue because it had struck her brother. When living in San Francisco, she worked for the development of the San Francisco International Film Festival. But she was only getting started.


Temple ran for Congress in 1967 but despite losing, became very passionate and interested in politics and government. Temple then went into diplomacy to make the world a better place. In 1969 she was appointed to represent the United States at the United Nations General Assembly. According to the New York Times, “She went on to win wide respect as the United States ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, was President Gerald R. Ford’s chief of protocol in 1976 and 1977, and became President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989, serving there during the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.” But she was only getting started.


Temple found love, married and raised three children. “There’s nothing like real love. Nothing,” she said. In January 1950, Temple met Charles Alden Black, a World War II Navy intelligence officer and Silver Star recipient. They were married for 54 years until his passing on August 4th 2005. But she was only getting started…


When at the age of 44 in 1972 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, at the time breast cancer and mastectomies was not discussed publicly. Temple was one of the first prominent individuals to engage with the public on a national stage to share her story, improve breast cancer awareness and prevention, and reduce the stigma of the disease.“I don’t like to do negatives. There are always pluses to things.” - Temple. But she was only getting started.


Temple then went into writing and published her autobiography, “Child Star” in 1988.

Temple passed in 1992. But she was only getting started!! …

Temple received numerous awards and honors after her passing and of course the countless awards during her life as everything. These awards include an honorary Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, Life Achievement Award from the American Center of Films for Children, National Board of Review Career Achievement Award, and so many more. Not to mention a drink that millions drink every year, “The Shirley Temple.” Although Temple was not a fan, “I wish my name was Cobb. Then they would send over a Cobb salad!”


Temple is a Great Debater and a Great Human being because she shows that you only get younger and more active as you get older. As you can see through her life, she lived every moment, did everything. “When I was 14, I was the oldest I ever was. I've been getting younger ever since.” - Shirley Temple


A chance to smile

To laugh

To sing

To dance

And that is that

And that is all

So thank you

- Shirley Temple

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