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BOSTON — In the centennial year of her birth, American film diva Bette Davis is being given one of the greatest honors of all time as she becomes the 14th honoree of the coveted Legends of Hollywood stamp series issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
Academy award-winning actress Lauren Bacall joins the Postal Service’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Glen Walker and family members and friends of Davis to dedicate the new 42-cent commemorative stamp today on the campus of Boston University at 1 p.m. ET.
“Bette Davis was one of the brightest lights of Hollywood’s Golden Era and one of the most decorated screen stars of all time,” Walker said. “It’s a pleasure to celebrate the life and legacy of one of America’s finest actresses.”
When asked for his reaction about the new stamp, Davis’ son Michael Merrill said, “This is one of the highest honors my mother could have received. It is a pinnacle of her career. She was truly the greatest American actress of all time.”
A consummate actress with a magnetic screen presence, Bette Davis played a wide variety of powerful and complex roles during her career. Her riveting performances, acclaimed by critics and fans alike, resulted in ten Academy Award nominations for best actress; she won twice for her starring roles in Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938).
Famous for her extravagant mannerisms, clipped speech, and zingy one-liners, Davis herself was as spirited and as fiercely independent as many of the characters she portrayed. Never giving an inch in her determination to be the best, she set new precedents for women in the film industry and changed the way Hollywood viewed the contributions of actresses. As the story goes, when asked to define the term “movie star,” film magnate Jack Warner responded with two words, “Bette Davis.”
Her many other awards and honors include being the first woman elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1974, she was presented with the Golden Globe-Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 1977, she was the fifth person and the first woman to receive the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.
On October 6, 1989, shortly after accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Donostia-San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain, Bette Davis died at age 81 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
She was indomitable to the end, and the epitaph on her sarcophagus at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills reads, as she had instructed, “She did it the hard way.”
Artist Michael J. Deas based his painting for the stamp on a black-and-white still of Bette Davis made during the filming of All About Eve (1950), in which Davis brilliantly portrayed aging Broadway star Margo Channing.
Bette Davis Philatelic Fact Sheet
There are four philatelic products available for this stamp issue:
- 462661, First-Day Cover, $.80
- 462662, First-Day Cover w/Full Pane, $10.90
- 462665, Digital Color Postmark, $1.50
- 462684, Uncut Press Sheet, $75.60
- 462691, Ceremony Program, $6.95
- 462699, Cancellation Keepsake Digital Color Postmark w/Pane, $9.90
How to Order First-Day Covers
Stamp Fulfillment Services 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. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, by telephone at 800-STAMP-24, or at the Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
Bette Davis Stamp
First Day of Issue
USPS Boston Retail Team
25 Dorchester Avenue, Room 3011
Boston, MA 02205-9600
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. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 19, 2008.
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