First, some sad news: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is to be sold, reports Melinda at The MMM Blog.
Dressing Marilyn, an illustrated tribute to William Travilla’s costume designs for Marilyn, will be released in October. By Andrew Hansford and Karen Homer, to be published by Goodman Books, 192pp. More details at MM Collection Blog
And for French-fluent readers, Blonde a Manhattanis a newly published collection of Ed Feingersh‘s photos, taken over one week with Marilyn in March 1955, 216 pp, with text by Adrien Gombeaud; the book’s release is accompanied by an exhibition in Paris.
Debbie Reynolds appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show recently, to discuss the upcoming sale of her historic Hollywood collection, with Profiles in History later this year, including several costumes worn by Marilyn in her most famous roles – including Travilla’s white halter dress from The Seven Year Itch.
Actor James Franco, seen here with co-host Anne Hathaway, briefly – and somewhat randomly – channelled Marilyn on Oscar night last Sunday.
“It puzzled many why a young, interesting actor like Franco would take a lame job like hosting the Oscars…he began the night game and filled with possibility during the opening skit, but as the hours wore on his enthusiasm dampened and waned. Halfway through he tested the very boundaries of our concepts of humiliation by coming out on stage in Marilyn Monroe drag for a piece that was anti-comedy in the finest Andy Kaufman tradition. Finally by the end Franco was apathy personified, lazily reading his lines from the teleprompter, seemingly unclear that ‘The King’s Speech’ had just won Best Picture, and even rolling his eyes in the final moments of the show.”
“I am going to stop collecting and I am putting it all up for auction May 26 and 27 in Los Angeles with the auction firm Profiles in History. You sometimes have to let your dreams go. I have been trying since 1970 to share my collection with the public. I couldn’t get the backing. It’s just a shame. I am sad I couldn’t have achieved that dream come true. It was a very hard decision.”
Debbie Reynolds, star of classic movies including Singing in the Rain (1952), is to put her collection of Hollywood memorabilia, worth about $5 million, on auction, after failing to find a buyer.
Miss Reynolds, 78, owns several Monroe-related items, including the famous white dress designed by Travilla for The Seven Year Itch (1955.)
‘Most people collect for themselves … but she collected for the public,’ Reynold’s son, Todd Fisher, told Knoxville News. ‘She collected for all of us. She collected for the American people to preserve the history of their industry.’
On his Marilyn Monroe Collection Blog today, Scott Fortner asks, ‘Will the Seven Year Itch subway scene dress come up for auction? If so, will it outsell the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress, which sold for $1.3 million in 1999?’
Marilyn Monroe’s legendary gold dress, designed by Travilla for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), features in Icons of Costume, exhibition of Hollywood wardrobe design, at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Philadelphia until September 5th.
Marilyn wore the dress while singing ‘Down Boy’, but most of the scene was cut.
Nonetheless, Marilyn modelled the dress for some of her most famous studio portraits, and caused a sensation when she was once again sewn into it for her appearance at the Photoplay Awards in March 1953, to accept her award as ‘Fastest Rising Star’.
But is it the same dress that Marilyn wore, asks collector Scott Fortner today…
“The dress Marilyn actually wore in the film (below) is a vibrant and shiny fabric, quite unlike the material of the dress sold at auction (above). In many other examples of proven authentic costumes, they look very much today the same way they did when worn by Marilyn in her films. Most often the colors match, as do the materials and fabrics … The dress that sold at auction is likely a copy of the dress that Marilyn actually wore. We’ll never know for sure if this was in fact the dress Marilyn wore in the number, though personally I don’t believe that to be the case. What is undeniable is the fact that there is more than one pink dress as there are actually two known to exist today.”
UPDATE: A last word from Andrew Hansford, author of Dressing Marilyn, a book about Travilla’s costumes…
“I was asked by the press if this was the original dress. I did a lot of research and found the following: it had all the right tags and studio numbers so I have to assume it was a Travilla, however and how many time I have said this is amazing, he always made a few of the dresses to check shape and wearability especially in this gown as it was so complicated to create. The dress she wore did have felt lining, this one has not – so no it was not worn in the film. I may have been tried on by her. But it stops there. The dress in the Travilla collection is a prototype and has so many corrections and alterations on it, including at least three cut out linings, which I can only assume did not work. Hense the felt. From his notes he stated she wore two identical copies in that scene as it took so long to shoot and of course no retouching then, any dirt on it and on with the next one.”