A few weeks back on a Friday Favourites post, my favourite laugh was a humorous inscription from Carrie Fisher being sold in this month’s auction from Profiles in History, The Personal Property Auction of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
For those unfamiliar, Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood hero who single–handedly tried to preserve the industry’s most treasured pieces by collecting thousands of props, wardrobes and film equipment. The collection, detailed in a 2011 Wall Street Journal piece, included Audrey Hepburn’s white Ascot dress from My Fair Lady, Julie Andrews’s guitar from The Sound of Music, Judy Garland’s iconic ruby slippers, Marilyn Monroe’s white pleated halter dress from The Seven Year Itch, and Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra costume, among much, much more.
Reynolds, who had purchased much of the collection from the historic 1970 liquidation of MGM Studios, tried for years to get the items into a proper museum, in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an effort which never came to fruition. Facing the cruel reality that her collection would never receive a permanent home, she sold most of her treasures in auctions through Profiles in History beginning in 2011.
On Saturday, 7 October, the personal property of the late mother-and-daughter actresses goes on the auction block. Admittedly hard to narrow down, here are my top ten pieces up for sale…
Collection of 11 maroon canvas 21 x 7.5 in. celebrity director’s chair backs
Imprinted with names in white including Debbie Reynolds, Virginia Mayo, Jane Russell, Janet Leigh, Cyd Charisse, June Allyson, Yvonne DeCarlo, Howard Keel, Barbara Rush, Margaret O’Brien and blank chair back signed boldly, “Debbie Reynolds”. In very good to new condition. (Lot 322)
Joan Crawford 3-sheet poster for Strait-Jacket. (Columbia, 1964)
Vintage original approx. 43 x 71 in. 3-sheet poster for the “psycho-biddy” classic. Printed in 2-sections and linen-backed with only minor retouching to folds. In vintage new condition. (Lot 156)
Debbie Reynolds personal “Deb’s Drive-In” neon sign.
Vintage diner sign constructed of sheet metal and neon. The large outdoor sign measures 102 x 60 x 10 in, is painted red, white and blue, reading,“Deb’s Drive-In” with “Debs” and the border of the sign framed in neon tube lighting. Exhibiting minor age and weathering. Gifted to Reynolds by Carrie Fisher, the sign was a memorable piece of outdoor décor at her Beverly Hills estate and features in the documentary Bright Lights (2016). Some age and wear. (Lot 180)
MGM Studios “Sound Vault” metal wall sign
Vintage original metal sign measuring 15 x 8 in. and with enamel printing featuring the MGM lion icon and text reading,“MGM SoundVault”.With holes drilled in each of four corners for mounting to the studio wall. Exhibiting wear and use. In vintage very good condition. (Lot 397)
“Color TV” motel sign
Vintage metal and plastic lighted Color TV motel sign. Measures 24 x 9.5 x 6.5 in. Electronics tested and working. In vintage good condition. (Lot 807)
Sotheby-Parke-Bernet auction catalog for the historic 1971 20th Century-Fox studio sale
Paper-bound 275-page auction catalog by Sotheby-Parke-Bernet Los Angeles for the landmark 1971 liquidation of 20th Century- Fox props, costumes, vehicles, posters, artwork, etc. This catalog belonged to Debbie Reynolds, and resided on a bookshelf in her bedroom at her Beverly Hills home. Some pages are dog-eared, denoting items that were once a part of Reynolds’ unparalleled Hollywood memorabilia collection, which she had begun to assemble a year prior at the MGM sale. Exhibiting a small handling crease to cover and minor wear to spine. (Lot 151)
Debbie Reynolds’ 2015 custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 tour van with Chinook RV conversion
Debbie spared no expense in fully out tting this RV with a huge array of equipment, including, security system with key FOBs (with 360 surround camera security package), (2) heated deluxe massage captain seats, Mission In-Motion digital satellite TV system, Cradlepoint wireless internet router, Crestron AV lighting system w/ iPad Mini,Apple TV, power awning with LED lights, LP generator, inverter with dual batteries, induction cooktop, power window shades, 13,500 BTU roof top A/C with heat pump, 60,000 BTU 12-volt heat and A/C system, and much, much more. Black with dark gray leather interior. Includes restroom amenities with shower and toilet. Powertrain is a 3.0 liter V6 Mercedes diesel engine mated to 5-speed automatic transmission. Odometer reads 6,854 miles at time of cataloging. Like new condition. (Lot 182)
Collection of (200+) major Hollywood celebrity candid unpublished photographs from Carrie Fisher and Penny Marshall’s legendary joint birthday parties. (ca. early 1990s)
Mainly 4 x 6 in. photographs of such celebrities as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, David Bowie, Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Richard Dreyfuss, John Travolta, Angelica Huston, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Midler, Don Henley, Buck Henry, Lionel Richie, Holly Hunter, John Hughes, Kathy Bates, David Geffen, Christopher Walken, Candace Bergen, Laurence Fishburne, Warren Beatty, Sally Field, Rod Stewart, Lucille Ball, Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, Barbra Streisand, Joan Collins, Michael Douglas, Dan Aykroyd, Tracey Ullman, James Woods, Harvey Keitel, Sharon Stone, Kevin Spacey, Geena Davis, Ben Affleck, Dennis Quaid, Heath Ledger, Sean Young, Carole King, Albert Brooks, Barbara Hershey, Danny DeVito, Brooke Shields, Ellen DeGeneres, Gillian Anderson, and many more. In overall fine condition. (Lot 1341)
Debbie Reynolds collection of (6) shooting scripts from In & Out, Will & Grace, and Esme (1991-2006)
Collection of (6) Debbie Reynolds studio bound and bradded on-set shooting scripts including (1) In and Out, (1) Pilot episode of Esme written by Carrie Fisher and (4) Will & Grace scripts including Episodes: “The Unsinkable Mommy Adler”, “Lows in the Mid-Eighties”, “Moveable Feast” and “The De nition of Marriage”. 3-scripts signed on the cover by Reynolds and some with character name highlighted and annotation. All in production used very good condition. (Lot 299)
Polish Maloware china (56) piece dinner service
Vintage set of (56) Polish Maloware china dinner service set with gold gilt edges including (12) 10.25 in. dinner plates, (12) 7.5 in. side dishes, (12) 6.75 in. bread plates, (12) 5.25 in. dessert bowls, (1) 12.75 in. oval fruit bowl, (1) 13 in. oval platter, (1) 15 in. oval serving platter, (1) 11 x 7 in. tea pot, (1) 9.5 x 9.5 in. co eepot, (1) 5.5 x 4.5 in. creamer, (1) 6.5 x 4.5 in. sugar bowl and (1) 11.25 x 5.75 in. cream and sugar caddy. Some age and wear. (Lot 130)
Photography: Profiles in History, Getty Images