From Child Star to UN Diplomat
“Animal crackers in my soup, monkeys and rabbits loop the loop”, sung the innocent voice of Shirley Temple in the 1935 film, “Curly Top.” Temple was born on April 23rd, 1928 to a dance-enthusiastic mother and business oriented father. Her first film debut was when she was only three years old, and starring in multiple films gave her worldwide publicity and fame. In 1934, at the age of six years old, she received her first Academy Award. Talented in tap dancing, singing and acting, along with her crowd favorite curly hair and gap-toothed smile made her practically an overnight sensation. Unlike many, she was embracive that she was a child, and sought to convey the childlike innocence and joy in her music and films.
Shirley Temple was not content to sit in her fame, and do nothing. Having excessive stardom is one of the easiest ways to make a huge difference for causes, and Temple knew this well. In 1967, she ran for a seat in the United States Congress; however this was a failed attempt. Being resilient, she served as an ambassador for the United Nations from 1969-1970, and the ambassador to Ghana in 1974. Her success in Ghana led her to become the chief of protocol in the United Nations, from 1976 to 1977. In 1988, Temple became the first to rank as an honorary Foreign Service Officer, and served again as the ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
While we mourn the loss of an American icon, we celebrate her achievements in political science and diplomacy. It would have been easy to sit back and gloat in the fame and fortune that her early career brought, but she used her influence in society to create an international impact. A promoter of peace, Temple once said, “Nothing kills freedom as substantially as a tank.” Thank you, Shirley Temple, for your acts of service in promoting democracy and diplomacy for all nations.