Debbie Reynolds Collection to be Auctioned

If you’ve ever had a hankering to dress up in Marilyn Monroe’s famous subway grate dress and have an extra couple of mil in mad money, now’s your chance.

Debbie Reynolds is probably the world’s foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia. Her collection is mouth watering. Most of it is costumes:

Liz Taylor’s racing silks from National Velvet and headdress and gold gown from Cleopatra

Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress & Rex Harrison’s attire from My Fair Lady

Julie Andrews dressand the curtain clothes from The Sound of Music

Marlon Brando’s Napoleon robes from Desiree

Charlton Heston’s tunic from Ben Hur

Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp bowler hat and cane

And those are just a few of the most famous; there are literally many thousands of other items. Add to this oil portraits commissioned by Hearst for Marion Davies’ movies, a pair of ruby slippers used in Wizard of Oz (apparently there were several- one pair is in the Smithsonian) and a zagillion other items. Many of them she apparently bought for yard sale/army surplus prices when studios were about to throw them out. She has tried for decades to get investors to back a museum but no-go; I don’t know if they couldn’t agree on terms or if nobody had that kind of money who was willing to part with it, but it’s a terrible pity that some Spielberg or David Geffen or George Lucas or other Hollywood billionaire couldn’t cough up a few (tens of millions of) bucks.

So, having been bankrupted several times due to bad husbands and bad investments and having spent and borrowed millions in assembling and housing and maintaining the collection, Reynolds simply can’t afford it any more and is auctioning it off to become solvent and financially comfortable in her remaining years. Really a tragedy nothing could be worked out to keep it all together; I’m sure the Smithsonian would have taken it off her hands but probably wouldn’t have paid anything for it. I can’t even guess how much it must have cost her to store all these things in archival conditions.

You can download the auction catalog here. If anybody knows Ms. Reynolds you should mention the notion of putting together a coffee table book for extra money; I’m sure it would sell as well as most coffee table books.

And if anybody happens to be going to the auction please let me know. I’ve got $35 bucks says this full size Ark of the Covenant from *David and Bathsheba *is mine!


I guessed before I clicked the link that the auctioneer would be Profiles in History. I wonder if they’ll feature the auction on the Syfy channel reality show.

Actually I’d rather have Carol Burnett’s curtain dress.

But wow, that’s an amazing collection. I wish I could just sit in on the auction.

You can own the Barbie.

Out of curiosity I looked up Scarlett’s curtain dress. It’s at U. Texas with four of her other dresses and a hoard of other memorabilia from the movie.

I’d like the black & cerise satin “staircase” dress that Joan Crawford wore in “Queen Bee”, please. I should be able to wedge an ankle into it.


That’s kind of sad. Debbie should have been able to retire comfortably just with the money from her career and her touring show, but really bad judgment in men has plagued her her whole life and drained her bank account over and over. We were hoping someday to get to her Hollywood museum in Tennessee but it looks like that’s out of the question now.

My sister went to a private(ish) pre auction viewing party in the last couple of days. She says it was amazing and that you can’t believe how tiny these major stars were, if you go by the size of their costumes.

I am so tempted. I had to restrain my mouse finger from clicking on “buy.” I still may succumb.

I also want this. (I love the fact that it has a “bikini zone.”)