Sale Date: Saturday, June 18, 2011 - 11:00 AM
“When I was seventeen, I won a beauty contest, was discovered by a studio talent scout and transported into the wonderful world of show business. I grew up on the MGM lot where they boasted that they had “more stars than there are in heaven.”
I was fortunate enough to start my career around the biggest movie stars. Can you imagine walking to work every day and seeing Fred Astaire dance past you as you approached your sound stage? I lived in a world that for most people was a dream.
My love for collecting began early in my MGM career. I used to spend my spare time in the wardrobe department, watching the most talented people create costumes for the actors. I was fascinated by how they were able to translate a simple suggestion in a script, sometimes even a piece of dialogue, into a magnificent costume. I loved everything that went into the process – the sketches, the fabrics, the construction.
Those were the days when the greatest designers worked at MGM – Walter Plunkett, who did our costumes for Singin’ in the Rain. The designer who probably had the most influence on me was Helen Rose. Helen worked on many of my films and even designed my wedding dress. For all three weddings!
My passion for collecting began in earnest when the studios broke up their inventories. In 1970 MGM announced it was going to auction off everything except their real estate. I was still under contract at MGM and knew this inventory well.These were the clothes that the studio wouldn’t even lend us to wear to events or parties. Prior to this auction, I was a “normal” collector. After the auction, preserving as many of these costumes as possible became my obsession. After MGM’s auction, the other studios followed suit. I was very for- tunate that I knew the president of Fox Studios, who allowed me to purchase many items prior to their auction. Over the years, I continued to save as many pieces as I could as the studios threatened their very existence.
I cherish every piece I’ve collected. I couldn’t bear to see them be lost or forgotten. Each costume embodies the aura of the star who wore it onscreen.Who can think of The Wizard of Oz without seeing Dorothy’s ruby slippers? Or The Seven Year Itch without Marilyn Monroe’s subway dress? I can’t. And I bought twelve of Marilyn’s costumes. All these items are as famous as the stars that wore them. There is magic in every thread, button and bow. Many of these wonderful articles capture that special moment in a film where our hearts were deeply touched. For me, the memory of this moment lives forever in each of these pieces.
I always dreamed of building a museum, a permanent place to house and display the collec- tion, so everyone could visit these miraculous costumes and props. For the past fifty years, I have collected, preserved and loved all these treasures. I’ve had the privilege to be their champion and caretaker.
Sadly, my dream didn’t come true. As I turn these precious items over to the auction, my wish is that they will find homes where they will be revered and preserved along with their history.
Now everyone has the opportunity to own them. I hope you will love them as I do.” – Debbie Reynolds