Every so often, something unassuming like a whiff of perfume or an article of clothing will have the power to transport you to a moment in time. For actress Susan Lucci, it's a gold lamé jumpsuit.
There was the time Lucci wore that jumpsuit to a cocktail reception honoring Lucille Ball when she noticed a member of the Rat Pack making a beeline toward her.
"I had always felt that Sammy Davis Jr. was the greatest entertainer ever," Lucci recently told The Times, "and I looked across the room and I saw him. And the next thing I saw was that he was coming in the direction of my husband and me with some intention.
"I actually looked behind me to see who he might be coming to see. And when I turned back, he had stopped in front of me — he was coming to see me!"
Lucci, 70, who portrayed the glamorous Erica Kane on the soap opera "All My Children" from 1970 to 2011, launched an online auction Wednesday that includes that jumpsuit and almost 900 other pieces accumulated during her decades-spanning career. The estate sale marketplace Everything But the House is handling the auction, which will run through March 10.
Lucci's holdings are a treasure trove for fans. Props from "All My Children," autographed posters, framed publicity photos and even the sofa from her New York dressing room will be available for purchase. Plus, there are designer and couture dresses, shoes and accessories from her personal collection.
"Something I'm very happy about is that we're making these things accessible to the very loyal, passionate fans," she said. "And the bidding on every item opens at $1, so it's accessible to everyone. I love that."
By the end of the auction's first day, the black evening gown Lucci wore to the Emmys in 1993 — it took an additional six years before she finally, and famously, won an Emmy after 19 nominations — was going for $75. A pair of Christian Louboutin pumps was at $430, well below market price. An Adrienne Landau rabbit fur vest was bidding for $14, and Lucci's Crate & Barrel dressing room sofa was going for $100.
There's also a sweepstakes for one winner and a guest to be flown to New York to have lunch with Lucci. "They had lunch with me so often as Erica Kane, this is a chance for them to come to New York to have lunch in person," she said.
Back on that night at the height of her career, Lucci said that Davis came over to tell her how much he enjoyed her work on "All My Children" and how he never missed the show.
"I was just thrilled beyond belief," she said. Then he asked her if she would like to meet Frank.
"I looked over to where he was gesturing and there was Frank Sinatra," she said, her voice filling with excitement at the memory. "When I got over there, I saw that Frank Sinatra was speaking to
And to think: She's selling the outfit she was wearing that momentous night.
"So to meet Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine on that same evening was very thrilling, and that silky, gold lamé jumpsuit was what I was wearing that night."
Start your bids. And check out Lucci's online auction here.