Mourning Ambassador Shirley Temple Black

Posted by Norman L. Eisen
February 14, 2014
Shirley Temple Black Outside the United Nations in 1969

We at Embassy Prague mourn the passing of Shirley Temple Black, U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Ghana, movie star, and American icon. She was Ambassador here during one of this nation's most important moments: the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The dissidents who suddenly found themselves running the country that would become the Czech Republic welcomed her help with the transition and had fond memories of her.

While I never had the pleasure of meeting Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, we did the same job, lived in the same house, and knew many of the same close Czech contacts. For these reasons, and more, I feel as if I knew her.

U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia Shirley Temple Black and Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel take part in the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Liberation of Pilsen at Pilsen Town Hall on May 6, 1990. [AP File Photo]

Wonderful stories about the Ambassador also remain. The Ambassador used to keep her Oscar on the mantelpiece of the library, and everyone who visited the Embassy, no matter how important, wanted to pose and take a picture with her and the Oscar. As a matter of fact, I look at a photograph of her every morning and evening when I walk by the pictures of all my predecessors lining the formal stairs to our offices here at the Embassy. Hers stands out for her famous face, sunny smile, and because she is the first woman pictured on the wall, preceded by the 20 or so men who served in Prague before her. She will be missed.

About the Author: Norman L. Eisen serves as the United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears on Ambassador Eisen's blog.



John M.
Virginia, USA
February 14, 2014
What a fitting tribute to a great lady and patriot.


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