Shirley Temple Black is probably the most well known child actor of all time. The song and dance master cheered up the nation during the Great Depression.
FDR was a fan of Shirley Temple and was grateful to the cheer she brought to many Americans. “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right,” President Roosevelt said. “When the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time during this Depression, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”
She retired from acting in 1950 at age 22. She then turned to a new career. She was a Republican activist. She was also the Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia and a delegate to the United Nations. She went on to be the first female U.S. Chief of Protocol at the State Department.
Despite being a Republican, even President Clinton had to acknowledge all the good work Shirley did on behalf of our country. “She did a masterful job as ambassador, from Ghana to Czechoslovakia, where she made common cause with Vaclav Havel in the final, decisive days of the cold war,” President Clinton said. “In fact, she has to be the only person who both saved an entire movie studio from failure and contributed to the fall of communism. From her childhood to the present day, Shirley has always been an ambassador for what is best about America.”
The rise of Donald Trump has a bit of its roots in Shirley Temple Blacks’s political story, as well. While liberal Hollywood stars champion causes, Republican stars are more likely to make deeper impacts and lasting changes in the party.
Hollywood stars have a long history of activism in the Republican party. Actors Robert Montgomery, George Murphy and Shirley Temple Black, along with studio mogul Jack Warner, worked to revive the Republican Party in California. This revolution paved the way for Ronald Reagan to become Governor and then President.
Trump’s celebrity has given him instantaneous name recognition. And his brand is well known. This helps make an easier transition into the political arena. So, it’s easy to see that he has a place within the party.
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