Debbie Reynolds, film star and mother to Princess Leia’s Carrie Fisher, spent the past 50 years acquiring what Hollywood was throwing out. On June 18, 2008, she sold off the crown jewels of her collection, and the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in Seven Year Itch broke an entertainment memorabilia auction record, selling for a whopping $5,658,000. Movie memorabilia auction house Profiles in History will be auctioning off more costumes, props, filmmaker tools and other items from Reynolds collection on December 3, 2011, at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.
Reynolds had been collecting costumes and props since 1970 when Warner Brothers started selling off key pieces of Hollywood history. Reynolds financed her purchases over the years with the plan of building a museum for the public. But last year her business filed for bankruptcy protection and her holdings, including probably the best Hollywood costume collection of all time, had to be sold off to pay off creditors.
Next week’s auction has a broad array of items. Again, mostly costumes from A-list and B-list actors and actresses, but this time mainly from less recognizable films of Hollywood’s golden age. No doubt for sci-fi fans the key lot being sold is George Lucas’s Panavision PSR 35 mm motion picture camera used to film Star Wars. It has an auction estimate of $100,000 to $200,000.
Also for sale is a Panavision Mitchell 65mm AC Rack-Over camera used to film Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey estimated to sell for $30,000 to $50,000, an RKO camera crane used by Orson Welles to film Citizen Kane expected to fetch between $30,000 to $50,000, and a Bell & Howell Model 2709 hand-cranked 35mm camera , once owned by Charlie Chaplin and used to film The Kid and Gold Rush, expected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000.
No doubt the highlights of the auction in the costume department will be more Marilyn Monroe screen-used costumes, including outfits worn in Bust Stop, Let’s Make Love, Niagara, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Other actress costumes featured were worn by Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Betty Grable, Deborah Kerr, Mitzi Gaynor, Susan Hayward, Teresa Wright, Ginger Rogers, Virginia Mayo, Kim Novak, Katherine Hepburn, Jennifer Jones, Claudette Colbert, and Ava Gardner. There is also a variety of classic Mary Pickford and Leslie Howard costumes, all available for previewing between now and December 3, 2011 at the Paley Center.
Key classic Hollywood films represented in the auction include She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Show Boat, an Al Jolson costume from Swanee River, a costume from The Little Princess worn by Arthur Treacher, Yankee Doodle Dandee, Without Reservations, The Three Musketeers, Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Greatest Show on Earth, and Stars and Stripes Forever.
A full suit of armor worn by Jean Seberg as Joan of Arc in Otto Preminger’s film Saint Joan is estimated to sell between $15,000 to $20,000.
More information is available at www.profilesinhistory.com. Happy bidding, movie fans!