Oh, my gosh, it’s here — or nearly. Fellow Dustbiters Ingrid and Corrine both sent e-mails about THE AUCTION! (If you’re new to this blog, Diller’s Dustbiters was the small group of Phyllis’s favorite secretaries and her friend and opening act for many years, Magician Mercer Helms.)
It has been a year now since Phyllis died. We had known it was imminent since the cancellation of our annual Dustbiter’s reunion at Phyllis’s house. Still, we all felt a loss. Phyllis Diller had been a big part of all our lives. So we phoned and e-mailed each other, talking about meeting at the service and then going someplace afterwards to reminisce and have our own private memorial.
It turned out she had left instructions that there would be no funeral or memorial service. This was a shock to not only the Dustbiters, but I’m sure to her many friends and fellow entertainers.
As for the house, Phyllis’s son and executor of the estate, Perry, put it on the market and it quickly sold for many millions of dollars. Again there was a flurry of e-mails and the Dustbiters talked about what fun it would be to pool our money and buy it. We fantasized about turning it into a bed and breakfast, or a museum or … ? We all dug through our sofa cushions and checked the pockets of our jeans and the purses in our closets and reluctantly concluded we could not come up with twelve million dollars. Maybe between us we could scrape together $12 or really, seriously, $1200, but not $12,000,000.
Then there was the word that once the house was sold, the contents and her things would be sold at auction. Again there were questions — would the auction be at the house? Moving all that stuff would be a huge undertaking, but on the other hand, the lovely and exclusive Brentwood neighborhood was certainly no place for a public auction.
Finally, a couple of days ago, we got the word. The auction is going to be on Sunday, September 22 at a very prestigious auction house. Phyllis would be pleased. Of course, she would expect — and deserve — no less. I understand there will be a couple of weeks of previews if you want to run down to L.A. and see everything so you can decide which Persian carpet or set of Limoges china you’re going to bid on.
I must say, it was fun paging through the catalog and saying “Oh, I recognize that sofa, that vase, those pictures. I ate off that china and drank from those glasses. I sat at that table and I remember well that living room, even though the red silk roses are no longer there.”
I also enjoyed looking at the costumes. A couple I recognized, but I imagine most of them from my days with Phyllis in the early 70s are long gone, donated to charities for their own fund-raisers, or perhaps sent to a collection somewhere for display. I was disappointed to not see any of the fur coats I remembered — the soft gray chinchilla, the white mink, the beautiful sable. (Sigh.) Well, I can still see them in my memory.
Corrine sent me the link to the on-line catalog. You can buy a hard copy of the catalog for $100, or you can simply page through it on-line. Guess what I chose to do? I’ll bet you make the same choice. Here’s the link: http://www.juliensauctions.com/
Let me know what’s your favorite. And hey, if you can’t make it to L.A. you can still bid by phone. Maybe your sofa cushions and jean pockets will be more accommodating than mine.
Shameless Plug: to read about my time with Phyllis Diller and learn more about her house and her “stuff,” check out my book: “Beyond the Spotlight: On the Road with Phyllis Diller” available at: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Spotlight-Road-Phyllis-Diller/dp/0985972882