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December 20, 2014

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Debbie Reynolds to host her final Hollywood memorabilia auction

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Harpo Productions

Debbie Reynolds and Oprah Winfrey with Marilyn Monroe’s dress from The Seven-Year Itch.

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Debbie Reynolds and Oprah Winfrey with costumes from Cleopatra.

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Debbie Reynolds with costumes and props from The Sound of Music.

For decades, singer and actress Debbie Reynolds bought movie castoffs of famous stars after the cameras stopped rolling. She dreamed of putting her monumental collection into a museum here in Las Vegas, but it never came to fruition.

The extraordinary mass of items she collected needed to be sold, and it’s taken three auctions to dispose of them all. The bidding was so frenzied for the first part, the money raised would have built the museum and run it forever. Now the final auction will be held in three weeks in L.A. with the Las Vegas treasures.

Included in the more than 1,000 lots are The Rat Pack tuxedos of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. The Las Vegas stage outfits of Diana Ross and Tom Jones are among many others, including Orson Welles’ fur coat from “Citizen Kane” and Tom Hanks’ wardrobe from “Forrest Gump.”

Also up for bid: the Vista Vision camera that shot the special effects for “Star Wars,” the original Mitchell camera that shot the first “Dracula,” “Frankenstein” and later the special effects for “Star Trek” and a Panavision camera that filmed “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection.”

Debbie collected costumes and artifacts from the Silent Era to the modern day of every Academy Award-winning movie. “Baywatch” actress and now Las Vegas motivational speaker and hypnotist Catherine Hickland, who is married to Debbie’s son, Todd, told me:

“She wanted to save all the costumes from being tossed or destroyed. Todd and she spent decades attempting to make the dream of a museum come true. Sadly, it was not meant to be, so she agreed to let them go up for auction so that collectors all over the world could own and share them.

“No one was more surprised than she when the first auction brought in $25 million. The famous Marilyn Monroe dress from “The Seven-Year Itch” alone went for over $5 million. I was sitting next to her at that auction, and her jaw literally dropped.

“Now the third and final auction is May 17 and 18. The official preview, where the public can view items, begins May 9 at Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in Hollywood.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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