At the time, Shirley Temple (born 1928) was a prominent child actress, who had shot to fame in 1934 after appearing in the film Bright Eyes at the age of five. She received a special Academy Award for her work and became a national icon, renowned for her wholesome image, which was widely merchandised. She was the top box office draw between 1935 and 1938, but stepped back from the movie industry to attend high school when she was 12. She went on to appear in a few more films but retired completely in 1950 at the age of 21.
Temple has gone on to sit on the boards of corporations such as the Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods and the National Wildlife Federation. She was the United States Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and Czechoslovakia in 1989.