Hollywood For Sale



Debbie Reynolds The Auction tomorrow, June 18, 2011, is your chance to own a slice of Hollywood history.

Hollywood’s Golden Age is over. The great stars exist only as silvery shadows on the screen. But some of the most important movie costumes and props, collected and preserved by actress Debbie Reynolds, are up for auction.

Among the hundreds of important items are Marilyn Monroe’s dress, designed by Travilla, that ascends sky-high from a subway gust in “The Seven Year Itch.” The dress used to be white but time has turned it to ecru. There is light boning that creates a built-in bra. And there are many more intricately sewn crepe pleats than is revealed by the camera. This item is expected to garner the highest bid in the entire lot, perhaps as much as 1 or 2 million dollars.


Photo by Sam Shaw


Audrey Hepburn’s stunning black-and-white Ascot race scene gown by Cecil Beaton for “My Fair Lady.” The gown was designed to be worn while posing thus there are lead weights sewn into the hem to keep the train in place.


Elizabeth Taylor’s massive crown from “Cleopatra.”


Several breath-taking and intricately detailed costumes worn by Katherine Hepburn in “Mary of Scotland,” designed by the great Walter Plunkett.


Maybe you’d like to step into Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”


Or how about trying on Charlie Chaplin’s iconic bowler?


The collection covers over one-hundred years of movie history and includes outfits worn by every major Hollywood star: Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Julie Andrews, Jean Simmons, Marlon Brando, Norma Shearer and Grace Kelly to name just a few.

The auction catalog is sold out, but you can download the free PDF catalog here. I’ve gone through it at least a dozen times and it is the most extraordinary gathering of costumes, props and memorabilia I have even seen.

It’s too bad that the vast holdings could not be kept intact. Reynolds tried to interest various museums in purchasing the entire collection but there were no takers. Thus, pieces of Hollywood history, our cinematic dreams, will be scattered to the four corners of the world.

Browse the catalog and tell us what you’d like to own.

It’s been a very BB week so:


No Brigitte Bardot costumes in the Debbie Reynolds collection. In fact, BB held a garage sale of all her outfits in order to raise funds for her animal rescue foundation.


Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and inspiring Shabbat.

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  1. Posted June 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Monroe dress just went for $4.6 million!!!

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  2. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted June 19, 2011 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Great Garbo. (CORRECTION-DON’T DELETE) Is that a typo or not?
    Are you sure it wasn’t Margaret Hamilton’s MAKEUP that caught fire, during the filming of THE WIZARD OF OZ?
    By the way, aside from snooty bias against children’s literature and fantasy, can anyone tell me why L.Frank Baum didn’t win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
    Shavuah Tov.

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  3. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted June 19, 2011 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Great Garbo.
    Shavuah Tov.
    Does anyone know why Dorothy’s slippers, SILVER in the book, are RUBY in the film? Was that just what the MGM costume department happened to have in Judy Garland”s size?

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  4. Jackie W. - Kanasas
    Posted June 18, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    How did DR accumulate all those props ? At one time I thought she was living in her car ? Wonder why she didn’t open a museum.

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  5. Bill Brandt
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Just have put my thought to my previous post but I’ll bet at the time Debbie collected these things the movie production was recently ended and they could be had for very little.
    As time goes on……
    I had a late friend who was what I’d call a master mechanic. He knew people on the Ford Racing team in the late 60s – that after LeMans – the GT-40 won and they were just….old race cars.
    Ford offered the mechanics the chance to buy one for $1 with the provision that they would have a buyback clause.
    Today these cars would be worth many millions.
    All it takes is time…..and appreciation.

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  6. Bill Brandt
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I was looking though the Dietrich biography and there is no index – not even a Table of Contents. And the book is 700+ pages.
    In browsing through I noticed that Dietrich was close even to Gen Gavin – head of the 82nd Airborne Div –
    As to what Patton gave Dietrich I haven’t a clue – I’d like to say “Pearl Handled Revolver” but I know that would not be likely 😉

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  7. DeniseM
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I took our daughter to the exhibit this afternoon. The contents are wonderful. It is such a shame that the collection has to be sold off. I have been told that she went to lots of very successful Hollywood people,not once but several times; the Academy, the Smithsonian, etc. and no one wanted to pay for it. Shame on them all. The costumes are stunning and many of them are very fragile. I think Debbie Reynolds deserves so much credit for saving all of this Hollywood history. And I’m not sure if it’s hypocrisy to cry about saving Hollywood history and then not be willing to pay for a collection such as this. I guess I’m just a capitalist at heart.
    I was told that this is only 20% of her collection that is going on the auction block this weekend.

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  8. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Costumes and props from the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” series will have very high value.
    I own one of the Hasidic outfits from “Stranger Among Us.” The streimel, hat, cost a fortune because it’s made of genuine fur. The kapatah, coat, was custom made for Eric Thal and the workmanship is extraordinary.
    I should have grabbed one of the leather porn outfits Melanie wore in “Body Double,” but I was sort of embarrassed and I didn’t want all the porn actress/consultants on set making fun of me. They were a, um, lively bunch.

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  9. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    For a prop like the witch’s broom on Wizard of Oz I can pretty much guarantee that there was no one broom. Important and fragile props are bought or manufactured in duplicates in case of breakage. Same for costumes. In fact, one of the prop brooms caught fire during production and actress Margaret Hamilton was badly burned.
    Dietrich: Can you guess what George Patton’s gift to her was?

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  10. Johnny
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure there will be things from movies today that will be valued by collectors 50 years from now but it’s hard to conceive of a collection like Reynold’s. Will any movie be viewed with the innocence of The Wizard of Oz or is there a character today as iconic as The Little Tramp?

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  11. Bill Brandt
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Interesting post Robert. I have been listening again to the ICONS Radio Interviews while walking the dog (see what your web site has done to me? ;-=)
    Anyway they were interviewing Peter Riva, Grandson of Marlene Dietrich (still have the excellent biography by her daughter Maria Riva on my read list) –
    When Marlene died the family was faced with a dilemma.
    Thanks to an IRS ruling on Yoko Ono with John Lennon’s estate they had to either give away all the Dietrich memorabilia or pay a hefty estate tax.
    She had literally 3 cars full of stuff – costumes, 45,000 photos, even a private 16mm color film of her making Destry Rides Again.
    Most places wanted just a bit of this or a bit of that.
    Finally the Film Museum of Berlin – http://www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/
    Agreed to take everything.(there is an English selection) (This museum alone is a reason to me to return to Berlin)
    On Wizard of Oz memorabilia I read sometime ago that there is a big dispute over the witch’s broom – whether there was more than one legitimate broom on the set or not.
    Pretty funny when you think the producers simply wanted to make a movie and were unconcerned over how many brooms to have on set. Lots of interesting sidelines about this movie and collectors.

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