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HOLLYWOOD — Legendary Hollywood icon and humanitarian Charlton Heston was honored as the 18th inductee into the U.S. Postal Service’s Legends of Hollywood stamp series today. The event took place during a first-day-of-issue stamp dedication ceremony at the The Creative Life Chinese Theatre as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival.
“Acting was not Charlton Heston’s whole life,” said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett in dedicating the stamp. “He was never afraid to stand up for his beliefs. In the 1960s, he believed so strongly in civil rights that he marched on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he called ‘a 20th century Moses.’ Later, he became a strong supporter of rights for gun owners and served as president of the National Rifle Association. No matter what kind of stand he took, you always knew his beliefs came from a place of true conviction. Beyond winning an Oscar for ‘Ben-Hur,’ he also received the Motion Picture Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.”
Joining Barnett at the dedication were filmmaker Fraser C. Heston, son of Charlton Heston; Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris;and, American Film Institute President Emerita and former U.S. Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee Chair Jean Picker-Firstenberg.
“On behalf of my mother, Lydia, my sister, Holly Rochell, and the entire Heston family, I can say enthusiastically how deeply grateful we all are that my father, Charlton, has been honored with a ‘Legends of Hollywood’ postage stamp,” said Heston. “In many ways, a nation’s stamps are a cross section of a culture, its ideals and icons, in microcosm. As a fervently patriotic American, my father would be deeply moved to know that his image — based on one of my mother’s photographs — will be on a Forever stamp.”
Throughout his seven decade career of more than 70 films, Heston played larger than life roles from U.S. presidents to Ben Hur and Moses. He worked with the Screen Actors Guild to help others in his profession, serving as a board member and later as president from 1965-71. A civil rights advocate, Heston marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and led the arts contingent to the 1963 March on Washington.
Heston received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971. He helped found the American Film Institute and received the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1978 for his philanthropic efforts. In 1997, Heston was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, and in 2003, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The Stamp Image
Designed by art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, the stamp features a color portrait of the actor by noted movie artist Drew Struzan of Pasadena, CA. The portrait is based on a photograph taken by Heston’s wife, Lydia Clarke Heston. The area outside of the stamps is decorated with an image of the actor from the 1959 movie Ben-Hur. Originally shot in black and white, the photo was later hand-colorized. Heston is shown wearing his costume from the film’s monumental chariot racing scene.
Born John Charles Carter Oct. 4, 1923, in Evanston, IL, Heston discovered drama when auditioning for a play at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. He studied acting at Northwestern University where he fell in love with fellow drama student Lydia Clarke. The two were married in 1944, a union that lasted 64 years. During World War II, Heston served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a radio operator and gunner on a bomber crew stationed in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
Heston’s Film Career
His first Hollywood movie was the thriller Dark City (1950). Director Cecil B. DeMille saw the film and didn’t like it. But when Heston later waved to the director from a convertible on the Paramount Pictures lot, DeMille saw something in the wave, and later cast Heston as the tough circus manager in The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. A few years later, DeMille tapped Heston for one of the biggest parts of his career: Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956). An extravaganza that recounts the Biblical story of the Exodus, DeMille’s film featured a cast of thousands, eye-popping special effects, and a Charlton Heston who could convincingly raise a staff over his head and part the Red Sea.
Three years later, Heston won a best actor Oscar for playing Judah Ben-Hur, a Judean prince who rebels against Roman occupation during the time of Christ, in Ben-Hur (1959). In one of the most famous action sequences ever filmed, Heston raced a chariot and thundering team of four horses in a spectacular contest against his Roman rival.
Heston lent his heroic presence to other larger-than-life roles in the 1960s, including Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) and John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). In Planet of the Apes (1968), he made his first foray into science fiction as a time-traveling astronaut trapped on a planet ruled by English-speaking apes. Delivered through gritted teeth, Heston’s famous line, “Get your stinking paws off me, you damn, dirty ape!” has long been an audience favorite. His next science fiction film, the cult classic Soylent Green (1973), gave Heston another opportunity to deliver an over-the-top performance. A hard-boiled police detective, Heston’s character discovers the secret behind a mysterious foodstuff in the famine-stricken future and screams out, “Soylent Green is people!” Reviewers have called both films guilty pleasures.
In 2002, Heston announced he was diagnosed with “symptoms consistent with” Alzheimer’s disease. He died Apr. 5, 2008, at the age of 84.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at usps.com/stamps or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
Charlton Heston Stamp
USPS Marketing – Admin Building
7001 South Central Avenue, Room 307
Los Angeles, CA 90052-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, there is a 5-cent charge per postmark. All orders must be postmarked by June 10, 2014.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724). Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
Ten philatelic products are available:
471806, Press sheet with die cuts, $88.20 (print quantity of 2,500).
471808, Press sheet without die cuts, $88.20 (print quantity of 2,500).
471810, Keepsake (pane of 20, 1 digital color postmark) $11.95.
471816, First-Day Cover, $0.93.
471818, First-Day Cover full pane, $12.30.
471819, Cancelled full pane, $12.30.
471821, Digital Color Postmark, $1.64.
471830, Ceremony program, $6.95.
471831, Stamped Deck Card, $0.95.
471832, Stamped Deck Card with Digital Color Postmark, $1.99.
Customers may view the Charlton Heston Forever stamp, as well as many of this year’s other stamps, on Facebook facebook.com/USPSStamps, Twitter@USPSstamps, Pinterest pinterest.com/uspsstamps, Instagram instagram.com/uspostalservice or on uspsstamps.com, the Postal Service’s online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.
Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.
For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf.