Todd Fisher, the son of actress Debbie Reynolds, says part of his mother’s collection of famous Hollywood memorabilia — stored on Fisher’s farm in Creston — may hit the auction block.
The collection, which includes a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers of “The Wizard of Oz” fame and the white dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch,” are part of The Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum, a nonprofit corporation formed by Fisher and his mother.
The museum was placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization this past summer, listing assets of $10.8 million and debts of $7.2 million.
Years ago, Reynolds started collecting famous Hollywood memorabilia with the hope of putting the artifacts in a museum, where they could be preserved and viewed by the public for generations to come.
Over the last nine years, she and Fisher tried to work with developers to build a museum first in Los Angeles and then Pigeon Forge, Tenn., but both of those visions have failed, Fisher told The Tribune. The nonprofit museum now may have to sell off memorabilia to pay off its debts, he said this week.
In particular, the museum has a $1.6 million debt, plus interest, it has owed Kansas businessman Gregory Orman since 2002, according to court documents.
The money was intended to be a short-term or “bridge” loan at the time, said San Luis Obispo attorney David Farmer, who is representing Orman in the case.
Orman is now demanding either payment of his loan, plus interest, or memorabilia of equivalent value. Through loan extensions, interest accrual and attorney fees, Orman claims he is now owed more than $6 million, according to bankruptcy court documents filed Wednesday.
“The debtor has nothing more than a long standing unfulfilled dream — to have a museum with no financing and no capital,” Farmer wrote in his filing.
Fisher said he controls about $10 million worth of the memorabilia at his Freedom Farms ranch in Creston, according to bankruptcy documents.
Some of the artifacts are in a hermetically sealed vault.
The entire collection is estimated to be worth about $50 million, according to the Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum’s Web site.