WikiStamps:Legends of Hollywood Series

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Legends of Hollywood is a series of stamps issued by the United States Postal Service. A different stamp is released each year and each celebrates a person from the American film industry. These first class stamps are sold by the sheet (twenty stamps) for a limited time.

Marilyn Monroe James Dean
01 marilynMonroe.jpg 02 jamesDean.jpg
1995 1996
Alfred Hitchcock Alfred Hitchcock
03 humphreyBogart.jpg 04 alfredHitchcock 0.jpg
1997 1998
James Cagney Edward G. Robinson
05 jamesCagney 0.jpg 06 edwardRobinson.jpg
1999 2000
Lucille Ball Cary Grant
07 lucilleBall.jpg 08 caryGrant.jpg
2001 2002
Audrey Hepburn John Wayne
09 audreyHepburn.jpg 10 johnWayne.jpg
2003 2004
Henry Fonda Judy Garland
11 henryFonda 0.jpg 12 judyGarland.jpg
2005 2006
James Stewart Bette Davis
13 jamesStewart 0.jpg 14 betteDavis 0.jpg
2007 2008
Gary Cooper Katharine Hepburn
15 garyCooper.jpg 16 hepburn-legend.jpg
2009 2010
Gregory Peck TBD
17 gregoryPeck.jpg TBD
2011 2012

Background

This series was featured in the Nov. 2011 USPS stamp collector catalog, USA Philatelic. Inside was a selection of new commemorative, special, and holiday issues. Among the group was a commemorative featuring a black-and-white photograph of Gregory Peck, from To Kill A Mockingbird. On the opposite page, a black-and-white of Katharine Hepburn. These two stamps were featured as part of Legends of Hollywood, a series that dates back to 1995, with the first release, Marilyn Monroe. Expectations were that each legend-of-Hollywood would be presented in the same stark, black-and-white as the Gregory Peck and Katherine Hepburn but only Alfred Hitchcock would be presented in contrast. Each issue in the series is designed using a different approach.

Series

Marilyn Monroe (1995)

You guessed it. Marilyn Monroe would be the first stamp in the series. The artist chosen to create this stamp, Michael J. Deas, drew inspiration for the stamp from a studio publicity photo of Marilyn taken in the 1950's.

James Dean (1996)

The second release in the Legends of Hollywood series is James Dean. Stamp artist Michael Deas used a photograph taken of Dean by Roy Schatt in 1954 as the inspiration for this stamp. The original photograph showed Dean with a cigarette in his mouth, but it was eliminated because of the Postal Service's policy of not showing smoking.

Humphrey Bogart (1997)

Michael Deas painted a luminous portrait of Bogart for the third stamp in the series. The image of Bogart is as he would have appeared in his prime.

Alfred Hitchcock (1998)

The fourth stamp in the series is the only stamp to honor a director. Richard Sheaff, the art director for this stamp, used a black and white photo of Alfred Hitchcock in tribute to Hitchcock's movies and TV shows, most of which were done in black and white.

James Cagney (1999)

The fifth stamp in the series was art directed by Howard Paine, who used both painted and photographic artwork for this stamp.

Edward G. Robinson (2000)

Edward G. Robinson was a Romanian-born American actor. A popular star during Hollywood's Golden Age, he is best remembered for his roles as gangsters, such as Rico in his star-making film Little Caesar and as Rocco in Key Largo. Other memorable roles include Barton Keyes in the film noir Double Indemnity, and as Dathan in The Ten Commandments. Three artists worked on the Robinson stamp.

Lucille Ball (2001)

Lucille's family insisted that the stamp not depict the Lucy from the "I Love Lucy" show. Instead, stamp artist, Drew Struzan, created this beautiful stamp from a photograph supplied by Lucy's children. The selvage art is from a 1957 episode of "I Love Lucy".

Cary Grant (2002)

An early rendition of Michael Deas' portrait showed Grant in a suit, as he appeared in a source photograph, but CSAC requested the suit be changed to a tuxedo to reinforce Grant's suave image. Deas used a still from North by Northwest (1959) for the selvage, but modified it digitally to fit the format; changing the angle of the crop duster to add drama and extending the surrounding scene to the left to wrap around the stamps.

Audrey Hepburn (2003)

This beautiful silhouette of Audrey is a Michael Deas design. Audrey's son, Sean Ferrer, wanted the bump on Audrey's nose to be left on the portrait, because he described his mother as "a beautiful package of imperfections." The selvage art is a photo from one of Audrey's most famous roles, "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

John Wayne (2004)

Stamp artist Drew Struzan based his artwork on a photo of Wayne from the movie "the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". While the photo was in black and white, the Postal Service was allowed access to the clothes that Wayne wore in the film which gave artisit Struzan as reference to put in the correct colors. The selvage art is also a Drew Struzan creation and based on Wayne's character in the movie "The Searchers".

Henry Fonda (2005)

Artist Drew Struzan was chosen to design the Henry Fonda stamp. He chose as his inspiration a photo taken of Fonda in 1941 by photographer Frank Powolny.

The art around the border shows Fonda as Tom Joad, a character he played in the 1940 classic film, "The Grapes of Wrath". and the text there reads as follows: "Henry Fonda (1905-1982) was noted for his naturalness and sincerity in stage roles and on the screen. Effective in comedic or dramatic roles, he typically played thoughtful men of integrity. In a career spanning nearly 50 years, he won many honors, including a Tony Award in 1948 for his work in the Broadway production of Mister Roberts and the Academy Award for best actor in 1982 for On Golden Pond."

Judy Garland (2006)

This beautiful stamp is based on a photo from Judy's movie, "A Star is Born". The first idea for the stamp had art director Ethel Kessler and stamp artist Tim O'Brien designing a stamp that showed Judy as a young actress. Her family wished that the stamp would show her as a more mature woman and their wish was granted. The selvage art work of course, is of Judy in one of her most famous roles, "Dorothy" in "The Wizard of Oz".

James Stewart (2007)

For the thirteenth stamp in the series, artist Drew Struzan used, for inspiration, a photo of James taken during the filming of the movie "The Stratton Story". It was this photo that Stewart's family liked best when shown several different poses. The selvage art is from one of Stewart's most loved movies, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

Bette Davis (2008)

The fourteenth stamp in the series features a portrait of Davis by artist Michael J. Deas based on a photograph made during the filming of All About Eve (1950). The original photograph shows Davis wearing fur, but due to concerns about objections from animal-rights activists, the Postal Service asked Deas to modify the coat. The selvage photograph is a black-and-white still from Jezebel (1938), showing Davis in the role of Julie Marsden, for which she won an Academy Award.

Gary Cooper (2009)

The fifteenth stamp in the series is a colorized portrait of Gary Cooper taken from a photo by George Hurrell around 1940. The black and white version of the photo was the inspiration for art director, Phil Jordon, when coming up with an image for the stamp. The selvage art is based on the photo from Gary's Academy Award winning performance in High Noon.

Katharine Hepburn (2010)

The sixteenth issuance in the Legends of Hollywood series honors Katharine Hepburn, one of America’s most fascinating and enduring film stars. Over the course of her career, Hepburn made over 40 motion pictures, including the comedy classic Bringing up Baby (1938)—with Hepburn as a leopard-owning heiress and Cary Grant as a stuffy paleontologist—and The African Queen (1951), in which she played a prim missionary spinster to Humphrey Bogart’s scruffy riverboat captain.

The stamp portrait is a publicity still from the film Woman of the Year (MGM, 1942). The photographer was Clarence S. Bull. The selvage image shows Hepburn as she appeared in the play West Side Waltz.

Gregory Peck (2011)

The Gregory Peck, 17th in the Legends of Hollywood series, honors one of America's most respected actors. Gregory Peck (1916-2003) appeared in more than 60 films during a remarkable career that stretched from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the emergence of independent filmmaking. For the stamp portrait, art director Phil Jordan chose a still image from To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), with Peck in his Oscar-winning role as Atticus Finch. The selvage features a photograph of Peck holding his Academy Award.