Heritage Mourns Loss of Ambassador Frank Shakespeare

Heritage Mourns Loss of Ambassador Frank Shakespeare

Dec 14, 2022 1 min read

WASHINGTON—Frank Shakespeare, former U.S. ambassador to both Portugal and the Holy See and chairman of The Heritage Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1985, died Dec. 14, 2022. Shakespeare was an honorary trustee at Heritage.

Shakespeare’s belief in the power of ideas was best exemplified by his role as chairman of the Board for International Broadcasting during the Reagan administration. Under his leadership, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty carried the message of freedom behind the Iron Curtain and helped bring the Cold War to a successful conclusion.  

Following his tenure as The Heritage Foundation’s board chairman from 1981 to 1985, he went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to Portugal (1985) and the Holy See (1986-89). Shakespeare was president of RKO General Inc., director of the U.S. Information Agency, and president of CBS Television Services. He also served as a trustee of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. 

Heritage Foundation Founder Ed Feulner and Board of Trustees Chairman Barb Van Andel-Gaby made the following statement: 

“Frank Shakespeare served as an inspiration to people all over the world for his pursuit of freedom, and we are all better off today because of his leadership. Following a successful career in business and media, he became a public servant whose contributions beginning in the Nixon administration led to transformational change across the globe. While serving in government, he was guided by principles that aligned with the vision of President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II to restore freedom to those living under the repressive Soviet Union. He had a front-row seat to the USSR’s downfall and played an important role to bring about the end of the Cold War. 


“On a personal level, Frank was a mentor and trusted friend whose wise counsel guided The Heritage Foundation at a critical period of growth and ascendence during President Reagan’s first term. He was a fount of knowledge and wisdom. Our organization benefited greatly from his leadership of our Board of Trustees and his longtime service as an honorary trustee. We will greatly miss Frank and extend our sincerest condolences to his family.”