June 2, 2011 / 6:31 PM / 9 years ago

Effort to return Marilyn Monroe's fluttering white dress to NYC

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The iconic white dress Marilyn Monroe wore in “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.

Manager Brian Sexton is reflected in a photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe as he watches a film in the indoor market cinema in Coventry, central England August 12, 2009.REUTERS/Darren Staples

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

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

“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.

The dress is currently owned by the movie star Debbie Reynolds, and is part of her large collection of Hollywood costumes and props being auctioned off 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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