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DEBBIE REYNOLDS, THE COLLECTOR
While Debbie Reynolds is synonymous with timeless movie-musicals, the legendary singer-actress is also known for having owned a larger-than-life collection of roughly 4,000 costumes and props from classic movies — ranging from Marilyn Monroe's crimson dress of Gentleman Prefer Blondes to Audrey Hepburn's ascot dress from My Fair Lady. The impressive bevy of Hollywood's great gems was initially intended for a museum the actress was never able to sustain, and ultimately made its way to an auction on June 18, 2011.
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MARILYN MONROE'S RED DRESS, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES
Joe Maddalena, owner of the Profiles in History auction house, estimated the first round of items would fetch $5 to $6 million back in 2011. "Without Debbie Reynolds, the history of Hollywood would not exist," Maddalena, who worked with Reynolds for decades, told PEOPLE. "She saved it. If it wasn't for her pioneering this solely on her own for decades, what we'd have from Hollywood would have been gone. Debbie said they would've been sold to costume rental companies for Halloween costumes."
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MARILYN MONROE'S HALTER DRESS, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH
"No matter what costume I would take off the rack, she would have a story," Maddalena told PEOPLE when asked if Reynolds had a favorite costume. "It wouldn't matter if it was a $50 costume or a $1 million costume, she had the same enthusiasm."
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AUDREY HEPBURN'S ASCOT DRESS, MY FAIR LADY
In part to pay the storage bills for her costume collection, Reynolds would spend 42 weeks out of the year singing around the country — up until a few years before her death on Dec. 28, 2016.
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CHARLIE CHAPLIN'S BOWLER HAT
Reynolds turned down many offers for Chaplin's signature topper. "It's like buying a bit of history," she told PEOPLE.
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ORSON WELLES' MINK COAT, CITIZEN KANE
"I want them to go to movie lovers like me," Reynolds once told PEOPLE of her prized items.
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ELIZABETH TAYLOR'S WHITE DRESS FROM HER 75TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
On top of owning a slew of her late friend's costumes from 1963's Cleopatra, Reynolds also secured Taylor's 75th birthday celebration gown.
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ELIZABETH TAYLOR'S GOLD DRESS, CLEOPATRA
In an interview with PEOPLE in 2011, the Singin' in the Rain actress revealed she would slow down once her beloved costumes were all sold — a bittersweet thought. "It's the end of the golden era for me," she said. "I'm delighted I lived when I lived … I've had a wonderful life."