US Stamps

Charlton Heston stars in Legends of Hollywood issue

Apr 30, 2021, 7 AM

The United States Legends of Hollywood commemorative stamp series resumes April 11 with a new stamp honoring film star Charlton Heston. A U.S. Postal Service publicity image of the stamp is pictured nearby.

The new forever stamp will debut in Los Angeles, Calif., and nationwide. A 10 a.m. first-day ceremony is planned at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX during the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival. The stamp ceremony is free and open to the public

Heston’s widow, Lydia Clarke Heston, will attend the ceremony. She took the photograph used as a model for the stamp design.

Former American Film Institute director and former chair of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee Jean Picker Firstenberg spoke to Linn’s Stamp News about Hollywood legend Charlton Heston. Her recollections can be viewed online at Linn’s YouTube channel,

The pane of 20 Charlton Heston stamps with decorative selvage is pictured on this page. Text printed across the back of the pane describes some of Heston’s accomplishments:

A native of the Chicago suburbs, Charlton Heston discovered drama when he auditioned for a play at New Trier High School. He never looked back. Heston 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 would last for 64 years. After serving on a bomber crew in World War II, Heston moved to New York and landed several parts on Broadway. His first Hollywood movie was the 1950 thriller Dark City.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Heston tackled the heroic roles for which he is best remembered. In the Biblical extravaganza The Ten Commandments (1956), he portrayed Moses, convincingly raising a staff over his head to part the Red Sea. In Ben-Hur (1959), Heston performed most of his own stunts in the spectacular chariot race sequence. He made his first foray into science fiction as a time-traveling astronaut in Planet of the Apes (1968). Heston later starred in the futuristic cult classic Soylent Green (1973).

A Hollywood screen legend, Heston was also known as a consummate gentleman. He worked with the Screen Actors Guild to help others in his profession, serving as a board member and later as president from 1965 to 1971. Heston led the arts contingent to the March on Washington in 1963 and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He helped to 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, Charles Heston was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, and in 2003, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Heston died April 5, 2008, at age 84.

The new stamp is the 18th entry in the Legends of Hollywood series that started in 1995 with a 32¢ stamp honoring Marilyn Monroe (Scott 2967). It is the first new issue in the series since the Gregory Peck forever stamp was issued April 28, 2011 (Scott 4526).

Artist Drew Struzan created the Charlton Heston stamp illustration, and USPS art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp and pane. Heston is shown in the stamp pane selvage in his starring role in Ben-Hur.

Ashton Potter printed 20 million stamps in panes of 20.

Press sheets, both with and without the die cuts that normally separate individual stamps, were produced in quantities of 2,500 of each type. Each sheet consists of nine panes of 20 stamps and sells for $88.20.

Technical details for the Charlton Heston stamp are provided in the box on this page.

FIRST DAY— April 11, 2014; city— Los Angeles, Calif., and nationwide.

DESIGN: artist— Drew Struzan; designer, art director and typographer— Greg Breeding; modeler— Joseph Sheeran.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprint “USPS”; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller Martini A76; inks— black, cyan, magenta, yellow; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 20 million stamps; format— pane of 20, from 180-subject cylinders; size— 0.84 inches by 1.42 inches (image); 0.98 inches by 1.56 inches (overall); 8.47 inches by 7.17 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— header “Legends of Hollywood,” plate number in four corners (stamp side); “©2014 USPS,” plate position diagram, USPS logo, bar code, promotional text, proprietary notice, biographical text; USPS item No.— 471804.

First-day cancel ordering information

Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Charlton Heston Stamp, Special Events, USPS Marketing — Admin. Building, 7001 S. Central Ave., Room 307, Los Angeles, CA 90052-9998. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by June 10.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Charlton Heston stamp is USPS item No. 471816 at 93¢.