So today’s Debbie Reynolds’ 83rd birthday and since she is a true Hollywood icon, I mean Debbie Reynolds is an ICON (capital letters, there’s no other way to say it), I just had to write something.
There’s so much to say about her, I mean she was a musical star of the 50’s and 60’s, she starred in one of my favorite films ever, Singin’ in the Rain (alongside Gene Kelly, Gene F* Kelly), she was married to Eddie Fisher (who left her for a woman called Elizabeth Taylor, don’t know who that is), she’s the mother of Carrie Fisher (who is a national treasure), she was an avid Hollywood memorabilia collector (she had the greatest private memorabilia collection ever assembled) and she stills acts (she played Frances Liberace in Behind the Candelabra, how cool is that). So basically it’s very hard to choose only a topic because there are so many things to say…anyway, I’d loved to talk about Singin’ in the Rain but many books have been written so far (just put Singin’ in the Rain on Google Books you’ll find an insane amount of them) and you can always find interesting trivia on IMDB (highly recommended, although I don’t know if everything’s true)…so let’s just focus on Debbie Reynolds’ memorabilia collection.
As most of you may know, Debbie Reynolds is (well, was) a famous memorabilia collector. She first started purchasing it in at the famous 1970 MGM auction, where props from such iconic films as The Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind were sold: this moment symbolized the death of the Golden Age of American Cinema. Reynolds, who had been working in the film industry since she was 16, thought that the memorabilia was a part of her own life and bought thousands of items, for which she spent 18.000 dollars.
The actress went on to expand her collection with other objects she came across, such as suits that belonged to the original Rat Pack members, autographs by well-known actors and actresses, cameras…over 3.500 costumes and 20.000 original photographs.
Reynolds’ dream was to build a museum to display Hollywood memorabilia but all the attempts ended up failing. Her items were displayed at her Las Vegas hotel during the 90’s, until it went bankrupt in 1997. She later opened a museum in Los Angeles, which was to relocate to Tennesse but the developer went broke and the actress was forced to start selling her beloved objects in order to pay the debts.
In June and December 2011, two auctions took place and most of Reynold’s collection was sold, including the famous white dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, auctioned for 4.6 million dollars, Judy Garland’s blue cotton dress used in test shots for The Wizard of Oz or Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress from My Fair Lady. These two auctions raised more than 26 million dollars and were followed by a final sale in May 2014, where a Panavision camera used to film Star Wars was sold for 625.000 million dollars, breaking records for Star Wars memorabilia and vintage cameras. Reynolds had hoped her collection would find a home in the Academy’s museum, but it was refused on several occasions; Hollywood’s history is now scattered all over the world.
Debbie Reynolds was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award this year: despite the passing of time she is still a legend.
“My favorite movie was The Unsinkable Molly Brown … In that film, I got to sing a wonderful song called ‘I Ain’t Down Yet.’ Well, I ain’t. Thank you all so much for this wonderful award.”
Happy birthday Debbie, we love you!