Preview the Academy Museum's collection, from Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape to Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra wig
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is stitching together an impressive display of costumes from the Hollywood of yesteryear.
Ahead of its planned opening in 2020, the long-gestating museum announced Monday several additions to its growing collection of more than 3,500 items representing costume design, production design, makeup and hairstyling, promotional materials, memorabilia, and awards, including Bela Lugosi’s cape from the 1931 classic Dracula, Shirley Temple’s cape, gown, and scepter from 1939’s The Little Princess, Jennifer Jones’ wedding gown from Madame Bovary (1949), Debbie Reynolds’ cloche from Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Gene Kelly‘s sweater and slacks from An American in Paris (1951), and Elizabeth Taylor‘s black wig from 1963’s Cleopatra.
“My father’s screen-worn cape has had a very special place in my life and in the lives of my children and grandchildren. In fact, it has been a part of my mother’s household and then my household since I was born — for over 80 years,” said Lugosi’s son, Bela G. Lugosi, of gifting the cape — which remained in his father’s possession until his death in 1956 — to the Academy. “After several years of discussions with Founding Director Kerry Brougher, who showed such care and appreciation of its important role in film history, it became clear that there is no better home for the cape than the Academy Museum, allowing movie lovers to view a piece of classic horror film history and enjoy Bela Lugosi’s acclaimed performance for years to come.”
Other pieces acquired by the Academy (via donations, partial gifts, and purchase) across the last year include Sammy Davis, Jr.‘s two-piece Sportin’ Life suit from Porgy and Bess (1959), Diana Ross‘ Billie Holiday jacket and skirt combination from Lady Sings the Blues (1972), several pieces from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 hit The Shining, and one of current EW cover star Saoirse Ronan‘s looks from last year’s period film Mary Queen of Scots.
The clothing joins thousands of pieces the Academy has steadily collected across the last 11 years.
Currently, the campaign in support of the museum — currently under construction on the site of the historic Saban Building on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles — is headed by chair Bob Iger and co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks.
Upon its completion in the near future, the Academy Museum will offer “immersive, experimental, educational, and entertaining” exhibits dedicated to the art and science spread across six floors, multiple exhibition spaces, an education studio, event spaces, conservation areas, a cafe, a store, and two theaters: The 288-seat Tedd Mann Theater and the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater.
Previously acquired items in the institution’s possession include a camera owned by Mary Pickford, Judy Garland’s ruby slippers and a munchkin jacket from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, one of Edith Head’s iconic dresses made for Taylor for A Place in the Sun (1951), a striped suit worn by Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974), screen doors used on the set of Casablanca (1942), stone tablet props from The Ten Commandments (1956), the only surviving full-size shark model cast from the original mold from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), a creature headpiece from Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), an embroidery kit from Gone with the Wind (1939), animatronics from The Dark Crystal (1982), and various Oscars that have been donated by to the Academy.
An overview of the Academy Museum’s full collection can be found here. Read on for highlights from the Academy’s major 2019 acquisitions below.
• Shirley Temple’s gown, cape, crown, and scepter from The Little Princess (1939), donated by the Family of Shirley Temple Black. Like many of the costumes worn by the child star, whose outfits (unlike those of other actors) could not be easily repurposed for use in other films, they are in near-pristine condition.
• Wedding dress worn by Jennifer Jones in Madame Bovary (1949), donated by the Arnold R. Kunert Collection
• Cloche worn by Debbie Reynolds in Singin’ in the Rain (1952), donated by Lauri Buehler
• Gown worn by Ann Blyth in The King’s Thief (1955), also from the Kunert Collection.
• Marlene Dietrich’s Helen Faraday evening robe from Blonde Venus (1932)
• Gene Kelly’s sweater and slacks from An American in Paris (1951)
• Sammy Davis, Jr.’s two-piece, black-and-white-patterned Sportin’ Life suit from Porgy and Bess (1959)
• Costumes from The Shining (1980), including the crimson jacket worn by Jack Nicholson
• Black wig with gold trim worn by Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra (1963)
• Diana Ross’s Billie Holiday jacket and skirt ensemble from Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
• Richard Pryor’s baseball uniform from The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
• Black sequined dress worn by Sonia Braga as the title character in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
• Denim and flannel ensemble worn by Kathy Bates in Misery (1990)
• Three-piece, poly-cotton waitress uniform worn by Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise (1991)
• Robe and shorts that helped Jeff Bridges transform himself into The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998)
• Costume worn by Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)