After more than 60 years in the movie business, one of Hollywood's biggest stars is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Just days after a rare Dracula poster sold for an impressive $500,000 at auction, Robby the Robot broke records to become the most expensive movie prop ever sold. An anonymous bidder paid $5.3 million for the movie star robot.
Previous record-holders for the top movie prop included Marilyn Monroe's dress from The Seven Year Itch and the Batmobile, which both sold for $4.6 million, and the statuette from crime classic The Maltese Falcon, which went for $4 million at auction.
The charismatic tin can got his start in the movie business in the 1956 sci-fi thriller Forbidden Planet, where Robby played the robot servant of the evil Dr. Morbius. While he looks like an antique now, at the time Robby was a cutting edge special effect, and it cost MGM $100,000 to build him. Of course, Robby isn't a real "robot," just a suit with some fancy dials and gadgets inside.
He was voiced by Marvin Miller, and the actor inside the Robby suit was Frankie Darro (although Darro was never credited for his work on the movie). The suit's designer, Robert Kinoshita, credits 1950s washing machines with inspiring Robby's groundbreaking design.
In case you're wondering why this old hunk of junk sold for millions, it turns out he's had a pretty impressive career.
With a $100,000 price tag in 1956, you can bet that MGM was eager to make back the money they invested to build Robby.
After Forbidden Planet was a hit, the robot went on to star in other sci-fi films for MGM, including The Invisible Boy. Sadly, Robby's career was already drying up by the 1960s, and he spent most of the 1970s in a movie memorabilia museum. While he was there, guests often doodled on Robby and tore off his parts.
He was finally rescued by movie historian William Malone, who remained Robby's owner until this week.
With Malone looking after him, Robby's career went through a renaissance. He started appearing in guest roles on shows throughout the '80s and '90s. Throughout his long career, Robby had guest spots on Lost in Space, The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, Columbo, and The Love Boat.
Robby is made up of three parts, his head, torso, and legs. The auction also included other Forbidden Planet props like Robby's Jeep and a control console, plus his original MGM packing crate.
Malone says he's "astounded" by the result of the sale, but "also sad to part with him."
"However, it's time Robby finds a place where he can be displayed, and with someone who can look after him. Of course, he will leave an empty spot in my house - and in my heart."
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[H/T: NY Post]