1993 29¢ Grace Kelly
- Honors American Actress and Monaco Princess Grace Kelly
- Joint Issue with Monaco
Stamp Category: Commemorative
First Day of Issue: March 24, 1993
First Day City(s): Beverly Hills, California
Quantity Issued: 172,870,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Intaglio
Format: Panes of 50
Why the stamp was issued: Grace Kelly had died in an automobile accident in 1982. Because of US Postal Service policy, a person had to be dead for at least 10 years before a stamp would be issued in his or her honor. As the 10-year mark drew near, USPS began negotiating with the country of Monaco, hoping to release a joint issue.
About the stamp design: A photo of Kelly taken during the making of the movie Rear Window was the basis for this stamp. Polish-born stamp engraver Czeslaw Slania engraved both the US and Monaco stamps. Blue was chosen as the color for the stamp because it was Princess Grace’s favorite color.
First Day City: The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, was the site of the First Day of Issue ceremony. Karl Malden, a member of the Academy board, as well as the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee’s board, was in attendance.
Unusual fact about this stamp: The Grace Kelly stamps were used before the March 24th issue date. The stamp has been found with postmarks as early as February 2.
Happy Birthday, Grace Kelly
Actress, philanthropist, and Princess Grace Kelly was born on November 12, 1929.
Grace Kelly was born into an affluent family. Her father was an Olympic gold medalist and her mother was a model and first female athletics coach at the University of Pennsylvania. She began acting and modeling as a child, earning the lead in a school play at the age of 12. Against her parent’s wishes, Kelly embarked on an acting career, studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She had her Broadway debut while still a student, appearing in The Father.
After school, Kelly appeared in the television adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis Novel, Bethel Merriday. This was the first of about 60 live television programs Kelly acted in. Kelly’s television success led to her first film role, a small part in the 1951 movie Fourteen Hours. Though her role didn’t earn Kelly widespread fame, she did catch the attention of Gary Cooper, who visited the set one day. He took notice of Kelly’s elegant, subdued personality, later stating she was “different from all these actresses we’ve been seeing so much of.” As a result, she was invited to Hollywood to co-star in High Noon with Cooper.
Impressed by an earlier screen test, director John Ford invited Kelly to Hollywood in 1952, and she subsequently signed a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Kelly’s first MGM movie, Mogambo, earned her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Kelly’s career took off in the next few years, starring in Dial M for Murder, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Rear Window, The Country Girl, Green Fire, and High Society. She went on to win one Academy Award and two Golden Globes.
In 1955, Kelly led the U.S. delegation at the Cannes Film Festival, where she met Prince Ranier III of Monaco. The pair remained in touch after Kelly returned to the U.S. That December, Rainier toured America, visited Kelly, and met her family. He proposed after just three days and the two families immediately began preparations for what the press dubbed “The Wedding of the Century.” Two separate ceremonies were held, with one watched by an estimated 30 million television viewers.
As a princess, Kelly’s film career was essentially over, though she did occasional poetry readings and documentary narration. Kelly spent her years in Monaco as a mother of three and dedicated philanthropist. She founded AMADE Mondiale, a non-profit organization that protects children around the world from violence, exploitation, and abuse. She also worked to improve the arts institutions of Monaco, establishing the Princess Grace Foundation.
On September 13, 1982, Grace suffered a stroke while driving and crashed her car. Her injuries were severe and she died the following day. At a memorial service, James Stewart remarked that “she was just about the nicest lady I ever met” and that “every time I saw her was a holiday of its own.”
Prince Rainier, who never remarried, was an avid stamp collector. Throughout his reign, he was involved in the design of many of the country’s stamps and once said stamps were “the best ambassador of a country.”