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Last weekend was not easy for Debbie Reynolds.

But at least now, she can worry less about financial drain after last weekend's Profiles in History auction of more than 400 prized pieces of her Hollywood costumes and memorabilia secured record bids and major money.

All of the final totals have not been released yet, but estimates have her entire collection valued at more than $50 million, which includes estimated values for another 200 or more pieces to be sold off at a second auction set in Los Angeles in December. Some early estimates put Reynolds' take from the weekend at $22.5 million.

As announced in the Associated Press wire report this week from reporter Lynn Elber, the top money was for the Marilyn Monroe dress "that flirted revealingly with a gust of New York subway air in 'The Seven Year Itch' " fetching $4.6 million at an auction of film memorabilia.

Actually, the dress, along with all of the other "hammer bid prices" are even higher, since the auction house charges a selling premium added to every purchase. For example, the actual final price paid for this Monroe dress was $5.6 million.

"The more sedate black and white outfit worn by Audrey Hepburn in the Ascot race scene of 'My Fair Lady' drew a $3.7 million bid" according to Ebler.

Much of Reynolds' massive collection, stored in huge warehouses on the property of her ranch in Creston, Calif., came from when she took out bank loans in 1970 to attend the legendary three-week auction of costumes and props liquidated at MGM Studios. She's tried unsuccessfully for years to open a museum to share her collection with the public. And unfortunately, I'm told her latest attempt as part of a real estate development in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. in 2002 led to a deal gone sour and huge debt. Filed court documents show Reynolds took on $1.6 million in debt, plus ballooning interest owed for the past decade. If she didn't liquidate, it would have likely resulted in bankruptcy for 79-year-old Reynolds.

"I won't have so many children (items) to take care of," Reynolds told AP.

"So I won't have quite so much responsibility and I can rest a little more."

In addition to son Todd Fisher and daughter Carrie Fisher, many of Debbie's friends attended the auction last weekend to show support, including Phyllis Diller, 93, Jane Withers, 85, Jack Carter, 88, Ruta Lee, 79, Ann Rutherford, 91 and Anne Jefferys, 88 and even Debbie's dog Yippy.

Here are some of the prices items netted, not counting the additional auction fees in each total.

$140,000 for the guitar used by Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music"

$100,000 for a "Cleopatra" headdress that adorned Elizabeth Taylor

$910,000 for Judy Garland's dress and $510,000 for her Ruby Slippers from "The Wizard of Oz"

$60,000 for Taylor's silk jockey uniform from "National Velvet"

$22,500 for Joan Crawford's waitress uniform from "Mildred Pierce"

$1.2 million for Monroe's red sequined dress from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

$45,000 for Harpo Marx's crooked top hat and blond curly wig.

$210,000 for Rudolph Valentino's costume from "Blood and Sand"

$3,500 for curly lock of Mary Pickford's hair in wooden box

$110,000 for Charlie Chaplin's "Little Tramp" bowler derby hat

$27,500 for Reynolds' dress from "Good Morning" song scene of "Singin' in the Rain."

$11,000 for Bette Davis' "prop blood-stained" ball gown from "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte"

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

 

 

 

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