Thursday, June 28, 2007

“Die Hard” action hero John McClane’s dirty undershirt is moving in with America’s favorite movie memorabilia.

With the release yesterday of “Live Free or Die Hard,” the fourth film in the series, star Bruce Willis gave the Smithsonian Institution the sleeveless shirt, a promotional poster, an ID badge and original script from the latest film. The script arrived yesterday morning, National Museum of American History Director Brent D. Glass said.

“It was kept under close wraps,” he said.

The items will be displayed in the “Treasures of American History” exhibit, which includes Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and Rocky Balboa’s boxing gloves.

Mr. Willis and two of his teenage daughters were about an hour late for the donation ceremony after flying in from New Jersey.

“It’s really cool, it’s really exciting,” Mr. Willis said at a press conference inside the National Air and Space Museum, which is host of the exhibit while the American History Museum is closed for renovations until next summer.

“Twenty years ago when I first worked on this film, I had no idea it would be considered part of the forever business,” said Mr. Willis, a Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award winner.

He added that anyone who worked on the film would be thrilled that the artifacts are part of the same museum exhibit as Dorothy’s slippers.

“I think the ruby slippers are way cooler,” he said. “I was pretty surprised by this.”

Memorabilia from “Die Hard,” which has become the “quintessential action movie,” Mr. Glass said, is in line with the museum’s mission to record American entertainment history.

Museum Curator Dwight Bowers said that the exhibit would show the way that film and television can preserve the mood of the country at a particular time in history.

“They capture a pivotal moment in time and make it timeless,” Mr. Bowers said.

The four “Die Hard” items will be on display beginning July 12 in the museum’s new acquisitions showcase.

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