How Much Marilyn Monroe's Iconic Seven Year Itch White Dress Auctioned For

The year was 1954 when Marilyn Monroe stood on a subway grate in New York City wearing a gorgeous white dress that billowed in the breeze (via The Guardian). Some 67 years later, it's an image that is still embedded in pop culture history. Directed by Billy Wilder, "The Seven Year Itch" centers on Richard Sherman (played by Tom Ewell) , a married man who ponders infidelity while his wife and son are away for the summer (per Filmsite). Monroe plays "the girl," the blond bombshell upstairs with whom Ewell becomes infatuated.

According to Biography, filming of the iconic scene took place on Lexington Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street. In the scene, Monroe and Ewell are exiting a movie theater when the breeze lifts up her white dress, creating the image that nearly everyone recognizes.

The scene was actually filmed at 1 a.m. while between 2,000-5,000 fans watched. However, the final version used in the film was re-shot in California, due in part to the noise created by spectators. Nonetheless, the original shots were used in both promos and ads (via Atlas Obscura). Monroe wore two pairs of white underwear to protect her modesty. In that moment, she could have never imagined the impact her little white dress would have.

Monroe's iconic subway scene had unexpected consequences

Monroe's white dress and its legacy continue to live on. The dress was later sold to Debbie Reynolds in 1971 for $200 (via The Guardian). Due to Reynold's financial issues, she put most of her Hollywood memorabilia up for auction, including the "Seven Year Itch" dress. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the legendary white pleated halter garment sold for $4.6 million in 2011, with an added $1 million in commission. The buyer is unknown (via BBC).

It's said that Monroe's subway scene also led to her divorce from second husband Joe DiMaggio. Referring to it as "exhibionist" behavior, he stormed off the set and they later got into an altercation at their hotel after the shoot (via CNN). Weeks later, Monroe filed for divorce, citing mental cruelty as the cause. It seems as if the shoot and the dress were the final straw in their rocky marriage.

The dress was designed by William Travilla, head costume designer for 20th Century Fox, who later referred to it as "that silly little dress." In 2016, Monroe's sheer crystal "happy birthday" dress sold for a whopping $4.8 million, thus beating out the white dress in becoming the most expensive dress sold at auction (via Rolling Stone).