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'Gone With the Wind' Items Sweep Auction

07/26/2002 01:00AM

Frankly, my dear, the fans still give a damn. The Associated Press reports that a gray-and-rose woolen sweater worn by "Gone With the Wind" costar Olivia De Havilland sold for $16,730 as Georgia collector Herb Bridges, 72, auctioned off most of his collection of memorabilia from the 1939 romantic Civil War epic, long considered the most popular movie of all time. The items, amassed by Bridges over the past four decades and sold as 348 individual lots at Christie's in New York this week, took in a total of $334,000. They included signed first editions of Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel and seats from the Atlanta Loew's Theatre, site of the movie's premiere -- which was attended by most of its stars, including Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. (He was escorted by his new bride, Carole Lombard.) According to AP, former Hollywood makeup artist Jim Tumblin purchased the DeHavilland sweater for his "GWTW" Movie Museum in Marietta, Ga., though, says AP, he only expected bids for it to reach $6,000. (DeHavilland played the sweet Melanie Hamilton, rival to vixen Scarlett O'Hara for the affections of the aristocratic Ashley Wilkes, played by Leslie Howard.) A hardcover copy of the novel signed by the film's major stars and owned by actress Ona Munson, who portrayed brothel-keeper Belle Watling, went for $11,352. Publicity photos also proved to be hot items: They went, not with the wind, but in bundles for more than $7,700.

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