They auctioned off Marilyn Monroe's iconic white halter dress from The Seven Year Itch. You remember the one: as she stood over a subway grate in front of the Trans-Lux Theater, it billowed up around her thighs. The way it was written into the movie, the object was to keep her cool–
Or was it to make every guy watching her get hot under the collar?
That was the case with her husband at the time: Joe DiMaggio. Afterward they had a shouting match in the theater lobby. She filed for divorce soon afterward.
The dress went for $4.5 million. It was sold by actress Debbie Reynolds, who, besides starring in several Hollywood classics herself (Tammy and the Bachelor, The Unsinkable Molly Brown) has a true appreciation for Hollywood lore. For years, much of her collection was kept at her hotel in Las Vegas, where she performed. A bad real estate investment forced her to sell off various pieces. This time around she also sold Monroe's red sequined dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (it went for $1.2 million, albeit it was projected to bring $200,000 – $300,000), and another of my favorites, Audrey Hepburn's Ascot dress from My Fair Lady, which sold for $3.7 million.
Other pieces sold by the auction house, Profiles in History included:
– Grace Kelly's rose crepe outfit from To Catch a Thief: $450,000 (estimate: $30,000-$50,000);
– Marlon Brando's elaborate coronation costume from Napoleon Bonaparte: $60,000 (estimate: $60,000-$80,000);
– Claude Rains' ivory military suit from Casablanca: $55,000 (estimate: $12,000-$15,000);
– ElizabethTaylor's brown period dress from Raintree County: $10,000 (estimate: $10,000-$15,000);
– Madonna's black evening gown and shoes from Evita: $22,500 (estimate: $4,000-$6,000);
– Mike Myers' swinging '60s suit from "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: $11,000 (estimate: $6,000-$8,000); and
– A high-school graduation dress of Natalie Wood's: $4,250 (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Reynolds a few years back. In fact, it was my very first celebrity interview. I remember her as gracious, witty, and vulnerable: she is every inch a star, but a sweet human being as well. I could have hung with her all weekend, if she'd have let me. Seriously, she is that much fun.
And so candid. She answered all my questions, even the sticky ones. If I find that interview, I'll be sure to post it here.
As I was leaving I mentioned that my favorite of all movies was one of hers: Singin' in the Rain. "I'll sign the DVD, if you have it," she offered.
Stupid, stupid me! Why didn't I think to bring it? I never made that mistake again!
Oh, well. In hindsight, I should have asked her if I could try on Marilyn's dress, just once!
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