LOS ANGELES, CA.-
The costume worn by Elizabeth Taylor in "National Velvet", the 1944 film that launched the actress into child stardom, is being auctioned on June 27th by Nate D. Sanders Auction
Said Nate Sanders of the costume, "It's an incredible, once in a lifetime piece. Not only did Elizabeth Taylor wear it before she became famous, in the movie that launched her career, but it appeared on-screen while she was riding her horse. It's one of the most valuable movie costumes to ever come to auction."
The costume is worn by Taylor while she rides her horse, The Pie, filmed at breakneck speed. Elizabeth Taylor would later say of her role in "National Velvet" that it was "the most exciting film" she had ever made. Tragically though, it also caused her lifelong back problems, as she fell off her horse during filming.
The costume, a one-piece romper, was originally acquired at the 1970 MGM wardrobe sale, where MGM famously sold off much of its Golden Age prop and wardrobe inventory. The romper is expected to fetch $50,000-$75,000 at auction.
Twelve-year-old Taylor was cast in the film as Velvet Brown, a girl who fulfills her dream of training her horse and riding it to a first place finish in the Grand National. Pandro S. Berman produced and Clarence Brown directed the family drama, its story adapted from Enid Bagnold's 1935 novel of the same name. During filming, Taylor was thrown from a horse and sustained the back injury that precipitated her eventual addiction to prescription painkillers. Taylor went on to win multiple Academy Awards and is ranked as the #7 greatest actress in the history of film in AFI's famed "100 years, 100 stars" list. One-piece romper garment custom made for Taylor features an off-white upper and blue-violet bottom that closes across the center with violet pearlescent buttons. A single pocket is sewn onto the right leg. Measures 16" across the chest and 14" across the waist. Her handwritten name tag is inside along with production numbers "1315-7706". Also included is the original MGM cleaning tag. Costume was purchased at the 1970 MGM wardrobe sale where Debbie Reynolds bought much of her Hollywood costume collection. Irene costume designed for the film. Photo-matched to show Taylor not only wore this outfit, but wore it on her horse. Age discoloration to fabric on the top, else near fine.