Debbie Reynolds: The Auction

Bittersweet. When Debbie Reynolds announced that she was selling off her enormous collection of Hollywood memorabilia this coming summer, I grew at once ecstatic at the idea of the biggest such auction since MGM's rummage sale in the '70s and also terribly saddened at the idea that Ms. Reynolds' museum project would never see the light of day.
“I heard the news that MGM was going to sell their inventory of costumes and props,” says Reynolds on how she started collecting, “I went everyday for weeks and focused on purchasing the costumes and props of Academy Award winning films. It soon turned into an obsession. Until now!  I've concluded that my dream of having a museum cannot be fulfilled, so I have decided to share my fabulous collection with other collectors.” - Profiles in History

Her hopes are dashed. What can I say?

Well, let's concentrate on the sweet side of the equation. 
  • They've finally settled on the auction site. According to the email sent to me today [sign up for auction updates], Debbie Reynolds: The Auction Part 1 will be held at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills on June 18, 2011. The Auction Part II will be held in December 2011.
  • Debbie Reynolds has recorded a 1 minute commercial for the event, and has been giving lots of interviews, including this one where she laments The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' lack of interest in a Hollywood Museum.
  • Profiles in History, the company that's handling the whole shebang, has taken photos of some of the costumes. [See below]

For Java's critique of Maria's (Julie Andrews) wardrobe and character development in The Sound of Music, click here.

Looks like it's going to be big.

Update October 2011: The 2nd auction will be held December 3, 2011. Click here for information on the auction and ordering the 2nd catalog.


  1. This is so sad, the museum idea was awesome! Now these historical pieces will go god knows where. Loved all the items, but it was so cool to see Debbie owned that cool "Eggshell Crepe Gown" that Katharine Hepburn wore in "The Philadelphia Story".

    Thanks for the info. Maybe someone can buy all the items and make a museum :)

  2. Clara, that would be great. Maybe a museum itself will bid on stuff, like the Smithsonian, or something.

    I want to go just to see who gets what.

  3. It would be fantastic if someone else were actually able to create a museum! Though Debbie was so passionate about the idea I really wish she'd been able to pull it off. I just hope wherever her amazing collection ends up it can still be on display somewhere, or at least remains as well preserved and taken care of.

  4. I can't believe there was no one in Hollywood who was willing to help fund this museum! Just the costumes you posted alone are such an amazing part of movie history.

  5. Oh my, that Grace Kelly of the loveliest movie costumes I've ever seen! I'd love to wear that one...but I suspect the prices will be a little steep even for vintage. :)

  6. You're right, that's quite sad... I hope Debbie doesn't come to regret it. She seems a bit melancholic in the commercial, but maybe I'm just projecting. Like Debbie, I'm also amazed that the AMPAS isn't more interested in her collection, given the truly breath-taking collection of printed materials they have in their Margaret Herrick Library (which should be a mecca for classic film fans, as far as I'm concerned). Thanks for sharing this news, Java.

  7. Meredith & KC - The catalog will have to suffice as the museum of lost dreams. (sigh)

    Elisabeth - Me too! I'd love to dress up in just about anything that Grace Kelly wore. Timeless stuff that.

    Caroline - I don't think you're just projecting; she does look melancholic.

    I want to go to the auction just to see who gets the famed "Subway Dress," among other things.

  8. I think it is very sad that Debbie's dream will not come true. I saw some of this collection at the casino in Las Vegas. Unfortunately the majority of the younger generation has no interest in this.

  9. Anon,
    When was part of this collection at a casino? Do tell!

    - Java


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