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The Bride Wore Priscilla of eBay

Actress Kyra Sedgwick's character on "The Closer" wears a vintage wedding gown once owned by Rockville realtor Judy Schlecht. (Courtesy of TNT)

How's this for a 50th anniversary present: Seeing your wedding gown worn by Hollywood actress Kyra Sedgwick.

That's exactly what happened to Rockville's Judy Schlecht, whose Priscilla of Boston dress is showcased tonight and the next few weeks on TNT's "The Closer" as Sedgwick's character, Brenda, prepares for her nuptials.

Back story: In June 1959, Schlecht walked into a Saks Fifth Avenue in Detroit, bought the floor sample for less than $100 and was married in it a month later. The ivory gown was packed away in its original box and stored in her mother's attic for decades. After her mother's death last year, Schlecht sold the dress for $25 to a local antiques dealer, who then listed it on eBay.

Judy and John Schlecht at their July 1959 wedding. Schlecht family photo

Enter costume designer Greg LaVoi, who selects all the clothes for Sedgwick on the show. LaVoi often dresses the character in vintage clothing to distinguish the Southern deputy police chief from the hipper crowd in Los Angeles, where the show is set. When the show's writers decided it was time for Brenda and her live-in boyfriend to tie the knot, LaVoi started searching eBay for vintage pieces. He bought 13 wedding dresses; Schlecht's was the last one -- he was the only bidder and paid the minimum asking price ($29).

"I needed to find the quintessential 1950s gown," said LaVoi, who wanted something Brenda's mother might have worn. "I really loved it. It had the gentle boat neck, beautiful sleeves, drop waist and just a touch of lace." He says Sedgwick had the same reaction: "When she put on Judy's dress, I do believe her eyes filled with tears, as did mine." The gown was in almost perfect condition and barely had to be altered for the size 0 actress.

Curious about the gown's history, LaVoi contacted the antiques dealer, who put him in touch with 70-year-old Schlecht, who will celebrate her 50th anniversary of her marriage to husband John this summer. The former Realtor and the costume designer have become pals, and "The Closer" has a new fan.

"I didn't used to watch it, but I do now," she told us. "And I like it."

By The Reliable Source  |  February 2, 2009; 8:12 AM ET
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