Debbie Reynolds passed away on December 28, 2016, at the age of 84. Many PRO-TEK employees who had the honor of knowing her are mourning the loss of this Hollywood legend, and that includes Stan Taffel, who provided information to her for her book Unsinkable. Stan is proud to be credited in her acknowledgements.
Ms. Reynolds was a passionate preservationist of film history, instrumental in saving Hollywood studio artifacts. She purchased many iconic film props and costumes, including Audrey Hepburn’s dress from My Fair Lady, a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Marilyn Monroe’s subway grate dress from The Seven Year Itch, and a headdress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.
Reynolds tried multiple times to house her collection in a museum, without success. She reluctantly sold many of her treasures in three auctions between 2011 and 2014.
In 2012, she was invited to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to actor and composer Carleton Carpenter at the annual Cinecon film festival. Cinecon celebrates rare, unusual, and unjustly forgotten movies from the silent and early sound era. Held yearly over Labor Day Weekend, the festival features screenings, celebrity guests and one of the best movie memorabilia shows in the country.
Several PRO-TEK employees have served on the Cinecon board, including Stan Taffel and Jim Harwood. Both were on hand for a memorable evening with Ms. Reynolds, who was known for her candid humor. In her honor, we are sharing video footage of her very entertaining speech, recorded and edited by PRO-TEK colleague Michael Cahill.
We are happy to share this performance in memory of the great talent and personality of Debbie Reynolds.