June 2, 2011 / 9:11 PM / 8 years ago

Donors needed to bring Monroe's white dress to NYC

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The iconic white dress actress Marilyn Monroe wore in the film “The Seven Year Itch” may be headed back to New York City, where a gust of air from a subway grate sent it billowing upward and into movie history.

A New York-based technology company is raising funds to buy the dress when it is auctioned later this month in Los Angeles and to bring it home to be placed on permanent display, possibly in a museum.

“The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ is as much a part of her iconic image as her stunning beauty,” Darlene Newman, a co-founder of inQuicity, a smartphone app producer organizing the effort, said in a statement.

“It’s also a prolific piece of New York City’s vivid history and culture, and deserves to find a permanent home here.”

The company has set up a web page, www.savethedress.org, to attract donors, who will be credited in any exhibition of the dress.

Profiles in History, the auction house handling the sale, says the dress is worth between $1 million and $2 million.

The dress is currently owned by the actress Debbie Reynolds, and is part of her large collection of Hollywood costumes and props being auctioned on June 18. Other items include costumes from “The Wizard of Oz”, “Gone with the Wind” and “Cleopatra.”

The estate of William Travilla, the Academy Award-winning designer who created the dress, has lent its support to inQuicity’s campaign.

Monroe originally filmed the scene while standing over a subway grate on Lexington Avenue near 52nd Street in Manhattan, surrounded by a huge crowd of photographers and onlookers. The crowd noise was so loud that Billy Wilder, the director of the 1955 film, was forced to re-shoot the scene on a soundstage.

If successful in its bid, inQuicity says it will take the dress on a national tour before placing it on permanent display in New York City at a yet undisclosed location.

Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton

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