'Brokeback' shirts will hang in Gary Cooper's home
Where will Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist's overlapping shirts — seen in the final scene of "Brokeback Mountain" — spend the rest of their days?
Fittingly, the shirts will hang in the historic Beverly Hills home of iconic Hollywood western film star Gary Cooper, now owned by venture capitalist-philanthropist David Bohnett, who purchased and restored the Cooper family home that was featured in Architectural Digest magazine last year.
Bohnett's partner Tom Gregory bought the "Brokeback" cowboy shirts — still on their single hanger — from the Ebay auction that ended Monday, Feb 20.
His winning bid? Just $100,100.51, a portion of which will go to Variety - The Children's Charity of Southern California and will help build a new Boys & Girls Club in Boyle Heights, Calif.
A longtime film still collector, Gregory (63 signed photos of classic film stars decorate his home's walls) knew the value of the shirts as an investment.
"They're the ruby slippers of our time," Gregory explained. "It's the most significant prop in modern film history."
But they are even more culturally significant, says the actor-philanthropist-collector. "The minute I saw the film, I wanted those shirts. I'm just grateful for having the ability to buy them, and I'm honored to be the steward of these shirts that are such an important symbol for our time and the gay culture. I didn't want them to end up in the hands of some right wing zealot who might burn them as a political statement."
The shirts are arriving this afternoon and Gregory plans to take them to his framer friend to design a fitting display.
"I'm thinking a picture box frame for them that will give the effect of being inside a closet."
But there's one thing that would make the shirt display complete: the postcard of Brokeback Mountain that Ennis taped inside his closet door in the film.
"I would die to have that," admits Gregory. "I'm trying to find out who has it."
Hey, another 100 grand and he might just get it.
Photo: The "Brokeback Mountain" shirts will now hang in far nicer digs, thanks to a winning auction bid by philanthropist Tom Gregory.
(Kimberley French / Focus Features)