Marilyn Monroe dress sells for $4.6 million

Alec Jacobs Contributor
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The picture of Marilyn Monroe pushing down her dress as she stands over a New York City subway grate may be one of the most iconic images from American film history. Now, that famous dress has sold at auction for $4.6 million.

The dress had, until now, been in actress Debbie Reynolds’ collection of Hollywood memorabilia. She bought Marilyn Monroe’s entire wardrobe 40 years ago, when it was cleared out by 20th Century Fox. It then joined her collection of about 3,500 items.

But in recent years, taking care of the memorabilia had become too expensive, and Reynolds wasn’t able to find a museum willing to take the entire collection, the Guardian reports.

“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 told Reuters.

A number of other items with big price tags were sold as well, including a dress and pair of ruby slippers used in a “Wizard of Oz” screen test ($1.75 million), Charlie Chaplin’s bowler hat ($135,000), and Elizabeth Taylor’s headdress from “Cleopatra.”

But none of the items sold for as much as Monroe’s dress which she wore in “The Seven Year Itch,” made in 1955. “Oh, do you feel the breeze from the subway?” Monroe said in the film. “Isn’t it delicious?” (‘Bra whisperer’ opens underwear shop in D.C. area, expands on Oprah fitting)

The Guardian also reports that many of the buyers were from Saudi Arabia and Japan. Randy Habercamp, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told the British paper: “Well it happened to the treasures of Greece. It happened to Italy. I guess now it’s [Hollywood’s] turn.”