Ginger Rogers' dance shoes among Houston's estate
A tribute to Whitney Houston is displayed on the large video board outside the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Published Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:54AM EST
Whitney Houston's estate contains a pair of Ginger Rogers' dancing shoes personally signed by the screen icon.
The late singer was a huge fan of classic Hollywood movies and like her godmother Aretha Franklin -- who collects Bette Davis and Judy Garland memorabilia, among other things -- she was an avid buyer of memorabilia from her favourite film stars.
Among Whitney's vast collection is a pair of shoes Ginger wore when she danced with Fred Astaire in one the 10 films they starred in together.
She was given them as a gift by David Gest for performing at the 10th Annual American Cinema Awards in 1993 -- an event which he organized and produced -- on the night where Rogers was honoured for Distinguished Achievement In Film alongside Sidney Poitier, Leslie Caron and Anthony Perkins.
Whitney's mentor Clive Davis was also honoured that night for his Humanitarian Efforts To The Entertainment Industry.
David wanted to give Whitney something special to show his appreciation for her closing the show with 'The Greatest Love of All' which received a five-minute standing ovation from the star-studded audience in Beverly Hills.
On the night Clive was honoured he told David that Whitney would not perform, but the producer asked her anyway as she was in attendance.
Recalling the moment Whitney came off stage, Gest exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "I wanted to give her something from the legendary Nicholas Brothers who were there that night but when I saw her she said, 'No! I want Ginger Rogers' dancing shoes!' "
The 'Michael Jackson: Life of an Icon' filmmaker boldly went to Ginger's home in Palm Springs and told her of his dilemma and the generous 'Follow The Fleet' star went and fetched him a pair of her famous shoes.
Ginger personally signed each shoe with a note which read "to one of the greatest singers of all time, from your friend Ginger Rogers".
David -- who was invited to the 'My Love is Your Love' singer's funeral -- encased the footwear in Plexiglas and gave the special present to Whitney who had them on display in her home up until her tragic death earlier this month at the age of 48.
The unique item would fetch thousands of dollars if Whitney's 18-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina - her child with ex-husband Bobby Brown - decided to sell the shoes.
He was first introduced to Whitney by his friend Michael Jackson in the late 1980s when the pair were on their way to Disneyland and Michael got her on the phone to David to discuss her accepting an award.
David said: "Michael thought Whitney was the greatest female vocalist he'd ever heard he found her vocal range unbelievable, he used to play her CDs all the time."
According to the 58-year-old star - who can soon be seen on a new episode of primetime ITV1 comedy panel show 'Mad Mad World' which features Rufus Hound and Rhys Darby - she also has "a lot more unique items in her collection".
David is also an avid collector of memorabilia and it was Michael who first introduced the TV star to the joys of collecting when he was 14 and the future 'King of Pop' was just nine.
His collection now features more than 200,000 items from the worlds of Hollywood and rock 'n' roll.