The dirt was flying in Hollywood last month. Real dirt, I mean, not
gossip. The kind that grows flowers rather than lawsuits.
Warren Cowan Associates orchestrated a nice publicity event for the
groundbreaking of Debbie Reynolds' new Hollywood costume and memorabilia
museum, which is part of the restoration going on in Tinseltown proper.
The amazing Miss Reynolds braved 97-degree temperatures to hoist a
shovel and dig up the first heap of soil at the site, adjacent to the
new home of the Academy Awards.
The museum will house her $30 million collection of classic movie
swag, which includes props, furniture, and over 3,000 costumes from some
of the biggest Golden Era films at MGM, 20th Century Fox and Columbia
Studios. It's expected to open in February.
"In the collection are Judy Garland's pinafore dress from The Wizard of
Oz, Marilyn Monroe's white subway dress from The Seven Year Itch,
Elizabeth Taylor's magnificent headdress from Cleopatra, and Barbra
Streisand's beaded gown from Hello, Dolly, among countless others,"
Kevin Sasaki, Reynolds' publicist tells me.
Debbie was joined at the ceremony by her children, Carrie and Todd
Todd will oversee the creative development and construction of the
museum as CEO, and Carrie is writing much of the material that will go
with the exhibits. The Hollywood Historic Trust Fund donated $50,000 to the museum, hoping to accelerate the restoration of Hollywood
Boulevard, which could use some sprucing up.
On a typical day, it's traipsed over by "professional" women, drug
enthusiasts, vagrants, and hordes of tourists with confused and
disappointed faces, mumbling, "This is it?" You can always spot the
tourists because their heads are pointing down, eyeing the footsteps on
the Walk of Fame.
I had the pleasure of working with the classy Debbie Reynolds a couple
of years ago on a movie in Toronto, and I must admit the woman is a
After working 14-hour days all week, she went to the Catskills to
perform her song-and-dance show before a packed house of 6,000 fans.
Yours truly, meanwhile, half her age, could only muster the energy to
nurse a cold, carbonated malt beverage in front of a televised baseball
game. (Which did, however, go into extra innings, even though I slept
through most of those.)
Says Reynolds about the museum, "It's a dream come true. It will be
great to see this come to fruition - while I can still see it!"
No worries there. She's still going strong, performing her solo act in
Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Florida, California, and Chicago three weeks
out of every month. There's just no wrap with Reynolds.