New Lucy Stamp Unveiled

Like everyone else, the US Post Office loves Lucy! The agency's affection for the Redhead was voiced loud and clear at last year's Loving Lucy 2000 Convention, where it unveiled its new Lucille Ball commemorative stamp. (The stamp will go on sale in calendar year 2001 -- after a 1-cent rate increase!)

On hand to do the honors at the special ceremony were Lucy's cousin Cleo Smith (who was reared as Lucy's sister when they grew up in Jamestown, NY) and Lucy's sister-in-law, Zo Ball (wife of her younger brother Fred).

Also in attendance were actor Karl Malden, representing the Post Office's Stamp Advisory Board; David E. Failor, the USPS' Community Relations Manager; and Terri Bouiffiou, spokeswoman for the agency.

"It's not just what I think of Lucy that she should be remembered by," Malden told a crowd of 300 assembled for the ceremony. "And Lucy should not be remembered just for TV. She was a pioneer in radio, she was a chorus girl on Broadway, and she did 40 films in 6 years."

"We decided to go with a glamorous Lucy look, which is more indicative of her film work," explained Failor. "She is without doubt the most requested person we've ever put on a stamp."

No one can be on a stamp unless they have been deceased at least 10 years -- and very few non-political figures have ever been featured on more than one. "Lucy is very special to us," said Ms. Bouiffiou. "She will have been on 2 stamps within 2 years. That's definitely a first for anyone!"

Ms. Bouiffiou, of course, was referring to both the new stamp and the 1999 I Love Lucy commemorative that featured both Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It was issued as part of the USPS's "Celebrate the Century" series honoring the 1950s.

The new Lucille Ball stamp will be the seventh in the agency's "Legends of Hollywood" series. Earlier honorees included Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. The Year 2000 honoree is Edward G. Robinson, whose stamp went on sale October 23.

Zo Ball, extreme left, Cleo Smith, and actress/impressionist
Suzanne LaRusch pose with new stamp at unveiling.

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