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Frank J. Shakespeare
Greeting John Paul II in 1987 at Apostolic Palace
2nd Ambassador to Holy See

In office
January 8, 1987 – July 28, 1989
President Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded by William A. Wilson
Succeeded by Thomas Patrick Melady
16th Ambassador to Portugal

In office
October 16, 1985 – October 4, 1986
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by H. Allen Holmes
Succeeded by Edward Morgan Rowell
Personal details
Born April 9, 1925(1925-04-09) (age 97)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Occupation Diplomat, business executive

Francis J. Shakespeare (born April 9, 1925) is a former American diplomat and media executive. He was the president of CBS Television before entering public service. He served as the United States Ambassador to Portugal from 1985 to 1986 and the United States Ambassador to the Holy See from 1986 to 1989. He now serves as an honorary member of the board of trustees for The Heritage Foundation.

Early life and education

Born in New York City to Francis and Frances (née Hughes) Shakespeare and raised in the Roman Catholic faith, Shakespeare graduated (B.S.) from Holy Cross College in 1946.[1] He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946. He was later awarded honorary degrees in engineering from Colorado School of Mines in 1975, in commercial science from Pace University in 1979 and in law from Sacred Heart University in 1985.[2]


Shakespeare was president of CBS Television in New York from 1950 to 1969,[1] when he was appointed by President Richard Nixon as director of the United States Information Agency.[3] He returned to the private sector in 1973, and became an executive vice president of Westinghouse in New York. In 1975 he became vice chairman of RKO General.[2]

In 1981 President Ronald Reagan named him chairman of the Board for International Broadcasting,[4] the entity which oversaw the operations of Radio Free Europe. He held this position until 1985, when Reagan appointed him United States Ambassador to Portugal.[2] The following year, in September 1986, Shakespeare was appointed United States Ambassador to the Holy See.[5][6] Since 1979 Shakespeare has been an honorary member of the board of trustees for The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy research institute.[7] He also currently serves as a trustee of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Nomination of Frank Shakespeare To Be a Member of the Board for International Broadcasting, and Designation as Chairman". 26 June 1981. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "United States Ambassador to Portugal". 24 July 1985. 
  3. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 14 January 1969. p. 1. 
  4. "Reagan Chooses EX-U.S.I.A. Head". 16 May 1981. 
  5. King, Wayne; Weaver Jr., Warren (30 July 1986). "New Vatican Envoy". 
  6. "United States Ambassador to the Holy See". 26 September 1986. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Board of Trustees". The Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Henry Allen Holmes
U. S. Ambassador to Portugal
Succeeded by
Edward Morgan Rowell
Preceded by
William Wilson
U. S. Ambassador to the Holy See
Succeeded by
Thomas Patrick Melady

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