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1958 JFK portrait becomes postage stamp

1958 JFK portrait becomes postage stamp

Nov. 13, 1958:  Sen. John F. Kennedy poses for Los Angeles Times staff photographer William S. Murphy during an interview a week after the 1958 mid-term elections. The interview was at the Santa Monica home of Kennedy’s brother-in-law actor Peter Lawford.

This photo was published in the Nov. 14, 1958, Los Angeles Times with a non-bylined story. After talking about 1958 politics, the story continues:

Kennedy is vacationing, soaking up warm Southland sunshine….taking a three-day breather following his strenuous 17-state campaign swing for Democratic candidates prior to Nov. 4 [election] and a trip to bolster his party’s standard-bearers in Alaska for the Nov. 25 election in the new state.

Lawford’s wife, Patricia, is Sen. Kennedy’s sister. Tomorrow the senator will be godfather at baptismal ceremonies for the Lawfords’ third child, a daughter born on election day and named Victoria in honor of her uncle’s achievement Nov. 4….

And as for his candidacy for president in 1960:

“It’s too early. The wheels spin around pretty fast. A year from now I’ll have an answer to that one. All I want to do now is thaw out. It was 4 below when I left Fairbanks Wednesday morning.”

In 1990, L.A. Times reporter Charles Hillinger wrote a story about artists making money turning designs into stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. In full disclosure, Hillinger ended his story by writing:

I’ve shared in that rare experience.

Photographer William Murphy shot a picture for The Times of Sen. John F. Kennedy at Peter Lawford’s Santa Monica home two years before Kennedy was elected president.

A few weeks after Kennedy was assassinated, Jacqueline Kennedy was asked to select a photograph of her late husband to appear on a stamp.

She chose the candid photograph taken by Murphy as he was looking at and talking to me.

For millions of Americans, that photograph on the 1964 stamp was a poignant reminder of the popular young president.

For me, it captured one of the most memorable moments in my career.

Today is the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration. Check out these photos on the Daily Mirror blog.

Photo: The image of President John F. Kennedy, right, in the U.S. postage stamp, is from L.A. Times photographer William Murphy’s 1958 portrait. AP photo.

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