Gentlemen prefer stamps

Commemorative Marilyn Monroe stamp uses drag queen by mistake

Delightfully, the Central African Republic issued stamps celebrating Marilyn Monroe. Not so delightfully (or perhaps more delightfully, depending on your angle), the person on one of the stamps is not actually her.

If you find this story bizarre, just imagine being Jimmy James, the performer whose likeness was used to make the stamp. It was issued back in 2014, but he’s only just found out about it (not receiving a lot of mail from the Central African Republic, apparently). He was photographed impersonating Marilyn way back in 1991 for the brand LA Eyeworks, and that photo was adapted into a sketch by Stamperija, the company that produced the stamps for CAR.

Whew, what a whirlwind. Now Jimmy’s lawyers are talking about suing. The whole thing calls to mind the occasional mistakes when Chad Michaels is mistaken for Cher because the likeness is so uncanny.

Weirdly, the original image back in 1991 caused a similar fuss. Marilyn’s estate threatened him with a lawsuit when he impersonated her, and the image was locked away for years.

The whole thing is just incredibly bizarre — including the question of why the Central African Republic even wanted to issue a stamp featuring a woman with no particular connection to the country.

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One Comment

  • Heywood Jablowme

    “the question of why the Central African Republic even wanted to issue a stamp featuring a woman with no particular connection to the country.”

    That last question is easy to answer. Most stamps by small countries are designed to be bought by collectors. There’s always a Marilyn collectible market. The number of Marilyn C.A.R. stamps that were actually used to mail anything? – probably hardly any.

    Big countries do this too, for instance the USA’s recent series of Harry Potter stamps. J.K. Rowling is British and Harry Potter has “no particular connection” to the USA. But printing stamps costs very little and if you sell them to collectors who will NEVER use them to mail anything, it’s a win/win.

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