12 Iconic Hollywood Relics from Debbie Reynolds’ Personal Collection

Pictured: Detail of one of two Debbie Reynolds' personal family portrait photographs by John Engstead ($100 - $200) via Profiles in History, October 8, 2017.

Debbie Reynolds and her family were no strangers to Hollywood. Reynolds herself was an acclaimed television and movie actress. Her daughter Carrie Fisher starred as Princess Leia in the legendary “Star Wars film series, and her son Todd Fisher was a director and producer of TV films and documentaries. Over the course of her career, Reynolds developed an interest in collecting and preserving Hollywood history in the hopes of ultimately opening a motion picture museum. While some artifacts hung in her Las Vegas hotel, aptly named the Debbie Reynolds’ Hollywood Hotel, she had begun to sell many of her treasures in recent years. After the passing of both Reynolds and Fisher late in 2016, their personal collections will be offered in a three-day sale at Profiles in History from October 7–9.

Reynolds’ collection is one of immense cultural significance, composed of quintessential relics from the Golden Age of Hollywood film. Below are 12 examples of key objects from her own career, as well as those that represent her collecting prowess and penchant for 20th century Hollywood film history.

Left: Debbie Reynolds personal 6-sheet poster for “Singin’ in the Rain.” ($6,000 – $8,000) Right: Debbie Reynolds signed 1-sheet poster from “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” one of her personal favorite films (1 of 2 posters included in the lot, $300 – $500). Both via Profiles in History, October 7, 2017.

Reynolds is perhaps best known for her iconic roles in Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1962). The former was the most popular Hollywood musical of its time, and today maintains appeal across several generations. For the latter, Reynolds was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.


Many items from Reynolds’ wardrobe are featured in this sale. One of the most iconic pieces is the screen-worn lavender silk chiffon dress from Singin’ in the Rain. The dress was designed in 1920s style for the “You Were Meant for Me” musical sequence. It was designed with the scene’s movement in mind, resulting in its scalloped hem and flowing shoulder scarf detail.

Debbie Reynolds one shoulder champagne jumpsuit by Bob Mackie ($400 – $600) via Profiles in History, October 7, 2017.

In addition to her success in film, Reynolds was a celebrated live performer. She frequently worked with American fashion designer Bob Mackie, well-known for dressing Hollywood stars and celebrities, to create clothing for movie premieres and performances. Several of his designs are featured in the sale, including a one-shoulder jumpsuit with rhinestone trim (illustrated above); his custom design for Reynolds.

Debbie Reynolds framed “museum” photograph on stretched canvas ($300 – $500) via Profiles in History, October 7, 2017.

Beyond relics from her illustrious career, Debbie Reynolds’ collection includes memorabilia from a wide variety of stars and sets of 20th century film. Notably, Reynolds collected items of significance from fellow leading ladies of theater and film. These costumes, posters, and photographs include prime examples from some of the most famous character portrayals of all time, like Audrey Hepburn in 1954 film “Sabrina.”

This stunningly dramatic gown, designed by French fashion house Givenchy, was worn by Hepburn in “Sabrina” and around the world during the film’s promotion. It is widely considered the garment that cemented the star’s place as a fashion icon.

Other important costumes in Reynolds’ collection come from the oeuvre of the incomparable Mae West. West wore both the black velvet and white fur gown designed by Elsa Schiaparelli and the lace and red wool dress while portraying Peaches O’Day in “Every Day’s a Holiday.” The controversial comedy, which came out in 1937, was written by West herself and was heavily edited by censors.

Left: Marlene Dietrich French grande poster for “The Devil is a Woman.” ($1,000 – $1,500). Right: Marlene Dietrich signed oversize photograph ($300 – $500). Both via Profiles in History, October 7, 2017.

Promotional materials and photographs feature prominently in Reynolds’ collection. Examples from stars like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe showcase Reynolds’ interest in Hollywood history and strong female performers.

Left: Marilyn Monroe 3-sheet poster for “Bus Stop” ($600 – $800). Right: Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Museum (a lot of 200+) costume reference photographs ($200 – $300). Both via Profiles in History, October 7, 2017.

Explore more film artifacts from the collections of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher at Profiles in History on October 7, October 8 and October 9.