NEW YORK – Christine Baranski wants your help cleaning out her closet.
The Emmy- and Tony-winning actor is donating three custom-made Bob Mackie gowns for an online charity auction on Wednesday and she's tapped a starry group of A-listers to follow her lead with hundreds of items.
The eye-popping haul includes a Wolverine jacket from Hugh Jackman’s closet, a banjo signed by Steve Martin, boots, jeans and a T-shirt from Bruce Springsteen and a dress from Dolly Parton that comes with its own mannequin. A portion of proceeds from every item sold will benefit The Actors Fund.
“Those of us lucky enough to have had successful careers are well aware of how badly our performing arts community has been hit,” says Baranski. "It’s a great way and it’s a fun way to help.
The gowns she's donated were ones she wore for appearances at the Golden Globes, Emmys and Kennedy Center Honors in the 1990s. Each is very glam — she calls them “over the top” — and her daughters aren't interested in wearing any.
“I have a feeling whoever bids on it will do it hopefully with a feeling of affection and maybe that I’ve given them some joy. That would be nice,” she says.
The slate available at Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers includes a key prop from the worldwide smash musical “The Phantom of the Opera,” a Burberry trench coat and a pair of Swarovski encrusted shoes from Cher and signed posters of “All in the Family” signed by Norman Lear.
Baranski helped organize the event and worked to get many of the items, writing personal emails to each celebrity. She spent the first weeks of the pandemic cleaning her closet and realized it could help others.
“As I’m coming out of my closet, I thought, 'Gosh, there’s probably a lot of actresses like myself who might be doing this, purging themselves of stuff,” she says. “Wouldn’t it be a great thing for an auction?”
Baranski reached out to producer Lorne Michael of “Saturday Night Live" fame to connect with writer and actor Tina Fey and managed to also get an “SNL” haul, including RuPaul's opening monologue outfit and the costume Timothee Chalamet wore when he played Harry Styles.
Theater fans may get excited about a Dolce & Gabbana dress worn by Glenn Close at the opening night of “Sunset Boulevard” in 2017 and the leather suit Alan Cumming wore to the Tony Awards when he won the best actor in a musical trophy in 1998 for “Cabaret.”
Judy Craymer is offering the jumpsuit costume she wore on Broadway for the last number of “Mama Mia!,” Christine Ebersole is letting go of the necklace she wore in “Grey Gardens” and composer Stephen Sondheim is donating a signed musical manuscript of the first eight bars of “Broadway Baby.”
“The happy news is I’ve just gotten such a tremendous response. People have been so generous,” Baranski says. “If I can just use all of these wonderful threads and connections and friendships to galvanize and make something happen, it would be a very rewarding thing.”
Other items up for bids include Bob Mackie dresses from Carol Burnett, a black sequin gown worn by Bette Midler and dresses from Meryl Streep, Cherry Jones, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters. There are boots from the original production of “Hamilton” and a signed script of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Jeff Daniels.
More treasures include Celeste Holm’s Golden Globe awarded in 1947 for "Gentlemen’s Agreement," signed books from Julie Andrews and the dress worn by Fey to the 2013 Emmy Awards where she won for writing “30 Rock”
More one-of-a-kind items are an Oscar de la Renta gown worn by Renée Fleming when she sang at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, a limited edition copy of the “Downton Abbey” film screenplay, and some leather jackets from the TV show “The Good Wife.”
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits