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Sunday, November 2, 1997 Published at 13:18 GMT


Dietrich fans scramble to pick up actress's treasures

This present from fellow actor Gary Cooper went for $10,925

Treasures belonging to the late film actress, Marlene Dietrich, have been sold at a packed auction in Los Angeles for more than $650,000 (£400,000) - more than twice the expected figure.

The sale, five years after her death in Paris at the age of 90, included gifts and mementoes from her leading men and other contemporaries from the world of art and literature.

Miss Dietrich's heirs are said to have sold the contents of her New York apartment to cut down on storage costs.
[ image: The typewriter was given to her by Noel Coward]
The typewriter was given to her by Noel Coward

The American actress, Jennifer Tilly, was one of the more active bidders. She paid more than $11,000 (£7,000) for two letters sent to Marlene Dietrich by the writer Ernest Hemingway.

Tilly also paid $4,600 (£2,800) for a walking stick given to Dietrich by Noel Coward. The playwright and songwriter reportedly gave her the walking stick when he learned she was doing a top hat and tails routine in Paris. Coward insisted the routine would be incomplete without the stick.

The daughter of the late actor, Yul Brynner, was also bidding in the Sotheby's auction. Victoria Brynner snapped up a gold ring that her father had given Marlene while the two were romantically involved.

Many other items such as her movie scripts and musical scores were bought in 1993 by the German government for $5 million (£3 million).

Saturday's auction included bids from around the world and drew a standing-room only crowd, including a few celebrities who turned out to see the personal belongings of the German star of classics like The Blue Angel and Destry Rides Again.

The most expensive item was Jean Baptiste Camille Corot's 1874 oil on canvas, Landscapes with Figures and Cows, which was bought by an art dealer for $140,000 (£85,500).

An electric alarm clock that Dietrich reportedly often took with her on trips went for $2,085 (£1273). It had been listed at between $25 and $50.

"The sale was fantastic - a wonderful tribute to a lasting star," said Sotheby's West Coast chairman, Andrea Van de Kamp.

The auctioneer says 98% of the 279 items were sold, including a gold money clip and a 1992 autographed Cannes Film Festival poster both going for $6,325 (£3,800).

A brown Edward Weiss mink coat fetched $1,380 (£840). An ET movie poster signed by director Steven Spielberg with the words: "To Marlena, They don't make them like you anymore. From an adoring fan, Steven Spielberg", raised $2,530 (£1,545).

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Internet Links

Marlene Dietrich official site

The Marlene Dietrich Home Page

Tribute page to Marlene Dietrich

The Blue Angel

The Internet Movie Database

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