If you ever wanted to relive the movie scene in which Marilyn Monroe's dress is blown upward by a burst of air, you will get a chance Saturday when her gown from "The Seven Year Itch" goes on auction.
Expect to fork over at least $1 million to $2 million for the ivory rayon-acetate halter dress with pleated skirt, one of about 500 wardrobe items being offloaded by actress and lifetime collector Debbie Reynolds at a Beverly Hills sale, Reuters reports.
The "subway grate" dress is the jewel in a collection that includes costumes previously worn by Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Julie Andrews and Madonna. And Mike Myers. One of his shagadelic "Austin Powers" combos, a groovy blood-orange number, is on the block for a relatively modest estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.
Reynolds, 79, has been collecting costumes since her early days at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she spent her spare time in the wardrobe department watching the artisans create movie history with needles and thread.
When the cash-strapped Hollywood studios started selling off their props in the 1970s, Reynolds presciently scooped up the best items. The dream was to display the 3,000-odd costumes in a museum, but that never came to fruition. A planned project in Tennessee went bankrupt in 2009, and Reynolds was forced to sell her collection to pay back creditors. Several sales are planned.
"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," Reynolds said.
Prices for entertainment memorabilia have not been affected by the recession, so many of the estimates will likely be easily exceeded. Perhaps the real test of buyers' appetites will be a heap of dirty rags: a tattered brown robe worn by Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes" is expected to fetch $8,000 to $12,000.