Slow down for the lowdown: A dozen years after her death from complications associated with multiple sclerosis, famed gossip columnist Maxine Mesinger's name is once again in the headlines, this time with an auction of furnishings, decorative arts and celebrity memorabilia that she and husband Emil Mesinger collected over half a century of schmoozing with social headliners and stars.
The gavel goes down on the contents of the Mesingers' eclectic estate at Morton Auctioneers & Appraisers at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26.
The woman who covered the lifestyles of the rich and famous from Houston to Hollywood accumulated a treasure trove of memorabilia.
The woman who covered the lifestyles of the rich and famous from Houston to Hollywood for the Houston Chronicle accumulated a treasure trove of memorabilia. Her wit and scoops on bold-faced types ("she snoops to conquer") appeared in the Chronicle six days a week from 1964 until decades later when her illness forced her to scale back.
Maxine continued to pen her column until she died from complications of multiple sclerosis in January 2001. She was 75. Emil died in June, 2013.
Among the items to be auctioned are a note to Miss Moonlight signed only “Blue Eyes” from long time friend Frank Sinatra and a book with an inscription from Tommy Tune that begins “To Auntie Max,” accompanied by one of his size 13 tap shoes complete with autograph. The sterling silver tray from Carol Channing, inscribed simply “Carol Loves Maxine," reveals the close relationship that the columnist developed with numerous stars of stage and screen.
The Mesingers's son, Jay Mesinger, emailed from his base in Boulder, Colo., "It was so overwhelming to take Mom and Dad’s home apart and prepare for the estate sale. Literally hundreds of pieces of collectibles and memorabilia spanning almost 50 years." Mesinger says that a portion of the auction sales will go to the Maxine Mesinger MS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine.
Beyond the celebrity items, the auction will include furnishings and accessories in French, English and Italian styles ranging from 19th century French gilt wood furnishings to whimsical pieces in Murano glass.
Morton's William C. Medsger commented on the auction offerings, "One would be hard pressed to name a notable figure of the 20th century, including crowned heads of Europe, that is not represented in the Mesinger collection . . . Viewing this estate collection is something like a trip to Disneyland right here in our own backyard."