Massive collection of memorabilia about 1930s actress Lilian Harvey goes under the hammer in Thornaby (From The Northern Echo)
For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Thornaby auction house selling off collection of Lilian Harvey treasures
WHEN Antony Russell popped into a cinema in 1971 to see a revival of the internationally successful 1931 film The Congress Dances he was immediately smitten with the beautiful female lead, Lilian Harvey.
She had been dead for three years and and was a largely forgotten figure. But over the next 40 years he collected everything connected with the willowy actress who instantly captured his heart when he saw her on screen.
Now the number one fan of the star - born Helene Lilian Muriel Pape in Edmonton, North London, who started off in silent movies and made the move to "talkies" through her magnificent singing voice - has decided to part with his treasured collection of memorabilia - running to some 2,000 items - through Vectis of Thornaby on October 24.
The hoard which Mr Russell accumulated through flea markets and frequent visits to Berlin, where Lilian moved with her English mother and German father when she was eight, includes photographs, cigarette cards, postcards, theatre programmes and personal letters, but also dresses, furs and a silk shawl given to her by the Shah of Persia.
Her private telephone book containing the numbers and addresses of friends, including Marlene Dietrich is included, along with her cigarette holder, Nurses' Aide Corps certificate dated 1942, magazines in which she appeared on the front cover, and the diary from just before her death at 62.
Mr Russell acquired many of the pieces from Lilian’s housekeeper Else (CORR) “Pitty” Worth, who inherited them on her employer’s death.
The auctioneers have no idea how much it might all fetch, although it is expected to run to a few thousand pounds.
After a spell in Hollywood Lilian fled Hitler's Germany, helping many Jews escape with her, and returned to Los Angeles as a nurse. After the war she lived in retirement on the French Riviera.
Mr Russell, a 72-year-old retired administrator from of Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol, said: "When I watched watch The Congress Dances that day at the National Film Theatre, I was immediately smitten.
"She was so sweet and natural, a good dancer and extremely good looking. Quite simply, I find her enchanting."
Comments are closed on this article.