Marlene Dietrich's grandson has defended the family's decision to sell off the movie legend's belongings at an upcoming auction, insisting the items were simply "gathering dust" in storage.

A number of the Hollywood actress' grandchildren, including David J Riva, are selling off Dietrich's personal items including clothes, sunglasses, photographs and letters, and the sale is expected to raise thousands of dollars.

Riva has now spoken out about the decision to sell off Dietrich's belongings, and he is adamant her relatives are not just out to make a quick buck.

He says, "To be honest, I hate to part with most of these things, but a friend recently reminded me that Marlene has so many new and old fans that it was pretty stupid to let some of these iconic items just sit in safety deposit boxes or even worse, in storage...

"I have never felt that displaying these things was right, as her grandson it felt a little - if not a lot - pretentious. So, in fact, I wasn't enjoying them either. The best solution was to let them go to good homes where they can really be appreciated and not just gather dust."

The sale takes place online later this month (Mar14).