Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Blog

By Vieshnavi Rattehalli

2012 Fall Intern

Unveiled on January 7th of this year, the Danny Thomas commemorative postage stamp posthumously honors the well-known Arab American entertainer whose radio, TV, and film career spanned five decades. The stamp, which has been sold at more than 30,000 US Postal Service locations nationwide since February 16th, was first introduced at an L.A. Gala on the 50th anniversary of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and what would have been the late founder’s 100th birthday.

On October 9th, The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce, with the support of ACCESS, sponsored an official celebration in Birmingham, Michigan for the Danny Thomas Stamp inviting U.S. Postal Service Representatives, Federal, State & Municipal Government Officials, St. Jude Children's Hospital/ALSAC Executives, Chamber Directors, Hollywood Entertainers, Local Celebrities, US Servicemen and women, the USO, Troops from the Boy Scouts of America, and Business, Civic, Diplomatic & Community Leaders.

U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, served as the Keynote Speaker. Opening ceremonies included Dr. Haifa Fakhouri of the Arab & Chaldean Council and Mr. John T. Heiney, Director of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District, along with performances by comedian Amer Zahr, Hollywood entertainer Alex Safi, and International Recording Artist Usama Baalbaki.

Designed by Tim O’Brien, the stamp prominently features Danny Thomas in the foreground with a backdrop of St. Jude and a starry night sky. O’Brien believes “the stars have multiple meanings: the Hollywood connection, but also the countless children he’s helped through the hospital.”

Danny Thomas, born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz in 1912 in Deerfield, Michigan to parents who had immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon, grew up surrounded by inequality and injustice. He watched children in his immigrant neighborhood die of curable diseases simply because they could not afford healthcare or because of the color of their skin. He made a vow to himself that if he were to find success, he would devote himself to philanthropy.

In 1962, Thomas founded St. Jude in Memphis, and according to his son Tony, he considered it to be his proudest achievement despite several Emmy awards for his starring role in Make Room for Daddy, his long-running sitcom The Danny Thomas Show, and appearances in such classics as The Jazz Singer and I'll See You in My Dreams.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital operates with the mission to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. St. Jude treats children from all over the world and has treated thousands of children for childhood cancers. Thomas, who also produced The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mod Squad, leveraged his celebrity connections, raising millions of dollars for St. Jude over his lifetime.

Thomas’ children remain involved with St. Jude. Tony has served on the ALSAC/St. Jude Board of Directors and Governors for more than a decade; Tony’s sister Terre Thomas has served on the board for 28 years and Marlo Thomas is the international outreach director. 

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