Marilyn Monroe white dress & Audrey Hepburn Ascot gown fetch millions: Debbie Reynolds movie memorabilia auction
The Marilyn Monroe white dress from The Seven Year Itch; Audrey Hepburn’s Cecil Beaton-designed dress from My Fair Lady; Rudolph Valentino’s Travis Banton-designed matador outfit from Blood and Sand; Mary Pickford’s period hat from the 1924 historical drama Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall; the charioteer helmet worn by Francis X. Bushman in the 1925 version of Ben-Hur, filmdom’s biggest worldwide blockbuster until Gone with the Wind; a blue suit and signature hat from the Harold Lloyd estate; Douglas Fairbanks’ costumes from the 1929 version of The Taming of the Shrew; Greta Garbo’s green velvet dress from Anna Karenina.
What do all those historical artifacts have in common? The answer is: Debbie Reynolds.
Since there’s no Hollywood History Museum out there to house it, Debbie Reynolds is auctioning her collection of movie memorabilia. “I’m heartbroken,” Reynolds was quoted as saying in the London Daily Mail. “I don’t want to see the collection broken up. It should stay intact. It’s a real shame but that’s the way it’s going to be.”
To call the lack of interest on the part of big-shot Hollywood personalities “disgraceful” would be an understatement. Anyhow, here are a few more items on the auction block:
- A gown worn by Jeanette MacDonald in The Vagabond King.
- Erich von Stroheim’s tail-coat from Three Faces East.
- Dresses worn by Katharine Hepburn and Edna May Oliver’s in Little Women.
- Claudette Colbert’s period costume from the 1934 version of Cleopatra.
- Mae West and W.C. Fields’ signed contract for My Little Chickadee.
- Costumes worn by Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in the 1936 version of Romeo and Juliet.
- Paul Muni and Luise Rainer’s Chinese robes from The Good Earth.
The auction will take place in installments, beginning on June 18 at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.
Image: Debbie Reynolds Collection via icollector.com.
Marilyn Monroe dress
Does $910,000 for Judy Garland’s Adrian-designed Dorothy dress in The Wizard of Oz sound like a lot to you? Then what about the record-breaking $4.6 million paid for the “subway dress” Marilyn Monroe wore in Billy Wilder’s 1955 comedy classic The Seven Year Itch? Or the $3.7 million paid for the Ascot dress and hat designed by Cecil Beaton that Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle wore in George Cukor’s Best Picture Oscar winner My Fair Lady?
Countries, people, and other animals the world over are hurting for money and all that money can buy, but today Debbie Reynolds sure isn’t. Nor are the buyers who spent millions at an auction held Saturday, June 18, at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.
A pair of shoes also designed by Adrian for The Wizard of Oz‘s Dorothy fetched $510k. Marilyn Monroe’s gown from Howard Hawks’ comedy-musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes went for $1.2 million, while Monroe’s saloon-girl gown for the less-famous, Otto Preminger-directed River of No Return was sold for $510k.
Among other auctioned items were Julie Andrews’ jumper and blouse from The Sound of Music for $500,000, Grace Kelly’s outfit from To Catch a Thief for $450,000, a lock from Mary Pickford’s curls for $3,500, Marlon Brando’s Napoleon costume from Désirée for $60,000, Madonna’s evening gown and shoes from Evita for $22,500, and Rudolph Valentino’s Matador outfit from Blood and Sand for $200,000.
And that’s how seminal pieces from Hollywood’s history were scattered around the world.
By the way, Debbie Reynolds reportedly acquired Marilyn Monroe’s “subway dress” for $200.
Joanna Dickens, Victor Victoria
Joanna Dickens: ‘Victor Victoria’ cockroach victim has died
Joanna Dickens, whose best-known film work was a bit part in Blake Edwards’ musical comedy Victor Victoria, has died. She was 72.
In Victor Victoria (1982), Julie Andrews stars as an impoverished actress-singer who achieves success onstage by impersonating a man impersonating a woman. Before all that gender-bending, Andrews’ character goes to a fancy restaurant where she plans to eat for free – by using a big, disgusting cockroach as an excuse for not paying the bill.
Things don’t work out quite as planned when the cockroach goes AWOL, landing on Joanna Dickens’ leg. Once she realizes she has company, Dickens screams in horror and all but destroys the restaurant.
Among Dickens’ other film roles were Big Jo, the dancing teacher in Alan Parker’s Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), and a small part as a cook in the Sean Connery vehicle Never Say Never Again (1983). She also played a dominatrix of sorts in Terry Jones’ comedy Personal Services (1987), starring Julie Walters, and was cast in the Peter Greenaway effort Drowning by Numbers (1991).
According to The Stage, “in between jobs, she looked after the homes of, among others, Alan Bates, and proved herself to be a frighteningly adept debt collector. Towards the end of her life, she had a grand home in Bloomsbury where she threw frequent sumptuous parties. Her extensive frame concealed an equally large heart.”