Auctions | July 2, 2012

Judy Garland's Diary, Marilyn Monroe's Last Check at Heritage Auctions

BEVERLY HILLS - A 1947 Academy Special Award©®??, presented to film pioneer Thomas Armat (estimate: $60,000+), who patented the first American film projector, and the last check that Marilyn Monroe signed (estimate: $10,000+) - and possibly the last signature that she gave - are the top Entertainment-related lots in Heritage Auctions’ July 24 Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature® Auction, taking place at the company’s Beverly Hills location, 9478 West Olympic Boulevard.
“While working with Thomas Edison, Armat refined how the film projector worked,” said Margaret Barrett, Director of Entertainment & Music auctions at Heritage, “paving the way for the then-new medium of ‘moving pictures’ to be seen by audiences worldwide. We obtained this amazing piece directly from Armat’s descendents, and we are proud to offer it as fewer and fewer Oscars©®?? are coming up on the block.
The last known check signed by Monroe, which anchors a grouping of 15 lots commemorating her fame, glamour and lasting legacy, raises some intriguing questions of the great star’s last day and night.
“Dated Aug. 4, 1962 - the day before her death - this $228.80 check was used for the purchase of a white chest of drawers from Pilgrim’s Furniture,” said Barrett, “but what does it suggest, if anything, about her death, which was ruled a probable suicide at the time?”
A pair of lots relating to Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland provide one of the most interesting wrinkles in the auction. The iconic star is represented with a spellbinding personal diary, circa 1960 (estimate: $4,000+) and Garland’s make-up case, sewing basket and travel mirror, circa 1968, left with a friend as she set off for England, just a short time before her tragic death (estimate: $3,000+).
“Garland’s 1960 diary is a fascinating, compelling and sad look into the troubled life of a great talent,” said Barrett. “There are entries that relate to her business dealings with questionable partners (including her then-husband, Sid Luft) and, most significantly, numerous references to the various ‘medicines’ that she was taking and trying to manage. Anyone who knows Garland’s story, and her eventual death from drug overdose, will find this amazingly interesting and quite heartbreaking.”

A sample entry from the diary on topics that the star was disturbed by, along with simple “notes to self”  reads: “Pills / who has control / 16 per day, green capsules /4 seconals per/ night…”
The theme of tragic stars continues in the auction with a number of gowns worn in various important television appearances by the late great Whitney Houston. The first and most important is Houston’s evening gown from The 36th Grammy Awards, 1994 (estimate: $4,000+), worn by the singer onstage when she received her Grammy for 'Album of the Year' for “The Bodyguard.” Houston’s evening gown from The American Music Awards, 1994, worn by the singer as she accepted the most AMA awards given to a female artist including ones for 'Favorite Pop/Rock Single' for 'I Will Always Love You,' and for 'Lifetime Achievement' is expected to bring $2,000+, while her gown from the 1994 NAACP Image Awards, worn when she received the 'Entertainer of the Year' award, is estimated at $2,000+.
Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
A highly detailed Continuity Script from Billy Wilder’s Academy Award-winning “The Lost Weekend,” Paramount, 1945: Belonging to Marvin Weldon, an important script clerk on the film - and consigned by his family - more than 300 pages long with heavy and comprehensive handwritten annotations in pencil about each and every bit of action in each and every scene throughout the whole film, with approximately 60 original print black and white photographs.  Estimate: $4,000+.
An original concept drawing from “King Kong,” Paramount, 1976: Rendered on paper in charcoal, depicting an angry Kong breaking free from his chains in New York City, signed in the lower right corner in black felt-tip ink “Negrón,” an art director on the film, with further related annotations on the lower margin. Estimate: $800+.
Gloria Swanson Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 'Certificate of Nomination for Award' for “Sunset Boulevard,” Paramount, 1950: Presented to the star, text reads in part “Be it known that/Gloria Swanson/was nominated for an Academy Award of Merit/for Outstanding Achievement/Best Actress/Sunset Boulevard.” Though Swanson’s Norma Desmond is one of the most famous characters in all of film history, Swanson lost out that year to Judy Holliday for “Born Yesterday.” Estimate: $2,000+.

John Wayne and others signed book “The Searchers” by Alan LeMay: Actress Vera Miles' own copy of the book, hardcover, no dust jacket, published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1954, signed to Miles on the front free end pages in blue or black ballpoint ink by her fellow cast members of the 1956 Warner Bros. classic including (in alphabetical order): Ward Bond, Harry Carey, Jr., Olive Carey, John Ford, Jeff Hunter, Natalie Wood, and John Wayne who wrote “Little Vera - it/was a pleasure/Duke.” Estimate: $1,500+
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit
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