Arago: Exhibits

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1940’s and 1950’s Darlings

Many of the classic movies in American history were produced during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Films such as The Wizard of Oz and Breakfast at Tiffany’s have become staples of American popular culture that are passed down between generations. Four of the most iconic actresses from this time period are; Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe.

Judy Garland (1922-1969) won a spot in the history of American film in 1939 when she played the lead role of Dorothy in the movie, The Wizard of Oz. However before her Oscar winning performance in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was a child performer who started out singing and acting. As Garland’s career developed, she received a contract with the major motion picture company, MGM. Once she signed on with MGM Judy Garland had a prolific film career, and stared in many movies with another film legend, Mickey Rooney. Despite her fame, Judy Garland suffered from drug dependency issues and eventually died of an over dose on barbiturates.

In 2006, the Postal Service released a Judy Garland stamp. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler and was issued on Garland’s birthday at Carnegie Hall in New York, New York. The stamp features a portrait created by Tim O’Brian that was based on a photo from Garland’s film, “A Star is Born.”

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) is one of the most iconic figures in American film. In the 1950’s and 1960’s she starred in now classic movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sabrina. She also starred in Roman Holiday, and won an academy award for her performance in 1953. In addition to her film work, Hepburn was also very successful on Broadway and won a Tony in 1954 for her role Ondine. Although she is most well known for her work as an actress, Audrey Hepburn also did a profuse amount of charity work during her life. Hepburn primarily worked with children and even acted as the goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Because of her remarkable film and stage career as well as her honorable humanitarian actions, Audrey Hepburn is remembered as one of America’s most timeless classic film stars.

An Audrey Hepburn postage stamp was released as part of the Legends of Hollywood Issue. The stamp was illustrated by Michael Deas and was issued in Los Angeles, California, at the Research Laboratory of the Children’s Hospital.

Grace Kelly (1929-1982) is another one of America’s most beloved classic 1950’s film stars. Kelly received formal training in acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Once she finished her training, she began to receive roles in movies and quickly became a favorite of director Alfred Hitchcock. She appeared in several of Hitchcock’s films including Rear Window, and Dial M for Murder. Two years after her 1954 Academy Award for The Country Girl, Grace Kelly ended her acting career and married Prince Rainer of Monaco. Although her professional career ended when she married, Grace Kelly remained an active and very charitable public figure, who to this day is remembered for her talent on the silver screen.

The Postal Service honored Grace Kelly by featuring her on a United States postage stamp. The stamp was designed by Czeslaw Slania and was issued in Beverly Hills, California.

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) is an iconic figure in American film history. Monroe began her career as a model, and is most well known for being the first centerfold in Playboy. In addition to her modeling career, Monroe was also an active actress and stared in movies such as, The Seven Year Itch and How to Marry a Millionaire. In 1959 her skills as an actress were acknowledged when she won a Golden Globe for Some Like it Hot. Despite her international fame as an actress and sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe suffered from severe depression. In 1962 Monroe died tragically young from a drug overdose, however since her death Marilyn Monroe has remained an important figure within American culture.

On the anniversary of her birthday, a Marilyn Monroe stamp was issued. The stamp was designed by Michael Deas and was released in Universal City, California. The stamp features a 1950’s photograph of Monroe.

29c Grace Kelly single

The Grace Kelly stamp was issued on March 24, 1993.

32c Marilyn Monroe single

The Marilyn Monroe stamp was issued on June 1, 1995.