Debbie Reynolds Collection of Hollywood costumes and props



2015-06-26 10:54:01

The Debbie Reynolds Collection of Hollywood costumes and props is the largest collection of Hollywood costumes and props in the world.


The private collection, which has taken over 50 years to build, is owned by screen legend Debbie Reynolds. Speaking in April 2011, Reynolds has described the collection as:

"My lifetime dream has been to assemble and preserve the history of the Hollywood film industry. Hollywood has been an enormous part of my life as I know it has been for countless fans all over the world. This collection represents a lifetime of collecting Hollywood artifacts and this is a rare opportunity to own a piece of Hollywood History for those who love the movies as much as I do. For the first time in nearly five decades, these iconic pieces will be made available to the public through a series of auctions presented by Profiles in History beginning in June 2011."

The Collection

The Debbie Reynolds Collection of Hollywood costumes and props is deemed to be the most significant collection of Hollywood memorabilia costumes and props since the liquidation of the MGM and FOX studios in the 1970’s.

Reynolds built the collection by buying at auction, private sales and also by being left collections when Hollywood Stars passed away.

“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.”


The entire collection contains over 3,500 costumes, 20,000 original photographs, several thousand original movie posters, original costume sketches and hundreds of key props from film history.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • Gone With the Wind (MGM, 1939) the famous green-velvet “drapery” dress hat with bird adornment, worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’ Hara.
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (20th Century-Fox, 1953) Marilyn Monroe costume worn as Lorelei Lee: signature red sequin dress from “Just Two Little Girls from Little Rock” opening musical number, designed by Travilla.
  • Marilyn Monroe's Seven Year Itch white subway dress
  • The Sound of Music (20th Century-Fox, 1965) Julie Andrews brown jumper and blouse with original guitar, from “Do-Re-Mi”, and turquoise dress.
  • Charlie Chaplin “Tramp character” signature bowler top hat.
  • Anchors Aweigh (MGM 1945) The salior costumes belonging to Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
  • The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939) Judy Garland’s “Dorothy” original blue and white gingham test dress with puff-sleeved white blouse from the first two weeks of filming, designed by Adrian, plus the matching fabled ruby slippers in the “Arabian test” pattern.
  • A 1918 Model T Ford and pair of signature suits belonging to Laurel and Hardy.
  • Ben-Hur (MGM, 1959) Charlton Heston signature tunic, robe, and accessories for the grand procession into Rome.
  • Mary of Scotland (RKO, 1934) Katharine Hepburn key red velvet and gold trimmed gown designed by Walter Plunkett.
  • My Fair Lady (Warner Bros., 1964) Audrey Hepburn “Eliiza Doolittle” signature ivory ribbon embroidery lace Ascot dress and hat designed by Cecil Beaton; Hepburn’s single most recognizable and remarkable outfit from any of her films.
  • Singin’ in the Rain (MGM, 1952) Gene Kelly herringbone wool 3-piece suit by Walter Plunkett from “I’m Singin’ in the Rain” iconic musical number.
  • National Velvet (MGM 1944) The racing silks and jockey pants worn by Elizabeth Taylor in her breakthrough role
  • There’s No Business Like Show Business (20th Century-Fox, 1954) Marilyn Monroe black, white and pink, tropical-print “Heat wave” dress and hat by Travilla.
  • Blood & Sand (Paramount, 1922) Rudolph Valentino ‘suit of lights’ matador costume, the most iconic wardrobe from any of his films; designed by Travis Banton.
  • Cleopatra (Paramount, 1934) Claudette Colbert signature royal boudoir gown of gold lamé and marquis-emerald trim, designed by Travis Banton.
  • River of No Return (20th Century-Fox, 1954) Marilyn Monroe saloon girl costume of beaded yellow charmeuse with red scroll trim designed by Travilla, complete with all the accessories.
  • To Catch a Thief (Paramount, 1955) Grace Kelly and Cary Grant key costumes by Edith Head, from the romantic scenic drive in a convertible overlooking Cannes.
  • Taming of the Shrew (United Artists, 1929) Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and Mary Pickford elaborate court costumes, hers is a peach silk velvet Empire gown with silver lace and bullion decoration by Irene Sharaff, and his is a black and gold tunic with gold lamé shirt and decorated cuffs, together with matching hat and yellow-lined boots.
  • The outfit worn by Robert Duvall in his iconic role as Lt Col Kilgore in Apocalypse Now.


In February 2011 Reynolds appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to showcase her collection and announce it was to be auctioned.

Reynolds told Winfrey: "I bought them at … different auctions, private sales. People would pass away and they knew I collected and they'd leave me the collection." One of the iconic pieces shown on the TV show was the Marilyn Monroe dress worn in The Seven Year Itch, which Reynolds described as "It's turned an ecru color because it's very, very old as you know by now,"

In May 2011 it was announced the collection was to be sold by US auction company Profiles in History on 18 June 2011, the first time in five decades that the items have been available for sale.

On June 18, 2011 the sale took place at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. It became the biggest film memorabilia auction of all time, with results of approximately $22.8 million.

Highlights of the sale included:

  • Marilyn Monroe's iconic white 'Seven Year Itch' dress, which sold for $5,658,000
  • Marilyn Monroe's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes red sequinned dress, sold for $1,476,000
  • Julie Andrews' 'Sound of Music' costume, sold for $676,500
  • Judy Garland's Wizard of Oz Dress and a pair of her ruby slippers, which sold for $1,119,300 and $627,300 respectively
  • Audrey Hepburn's My Fair Lady Ascot dress, sold for $4,551,000
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