Mollie’s Moment in the Sun …
When the Mercedes I ran ashore in Palm Beach, Ted Kennedy’s next-door neighbor was made a star.
photographs b/ dave hogerty [originalnoise.org]
(1984) — Outside, the wind howled as Palm Beach socialite Mollie Wilmot sat down for Thanksgiving dinner with her family. Sitting comfortably, with her Picassos, Renoits, and Miros, in a dining room that would attract many a museum’s envy. Mollie had no idea of the dilapidated Venezuelan ship, just off shore of her oceanfront mansion. Having lost the engine, the small crew was struggling to survive the pounding surf, dropping it’s inadequate anchor.
As the storm raged, and the night grew more eerie, Mollie and her company of family and friends, reminisced, and reported all the family news, gossip, and plans for Christmas. All had a celebratory time, and the day ended near midnight.
Offshore, the Venezuelans still fought the powerful storm that had strengthened and grown more angry throughout the night. Just before sunrise, Mollie was sleeping soundly when the Mercedes lost the battle, finally breaking free of its precarious mooring. Unable to resist the raging surf, the helpless ship was pushed ashore, crashing onto the beach in front of Mollie’s ocean-side pool and cabana.
The ship was the Mercedes I, and it had come ashore next door to the Kennedy Estate (JFK’s Summer White House in the ’60s, and then occupied by Senator Ted and his infamous nephew William Smith). The TV-friendly location insured that for the next six months (time it took a salvage company to remove the ship), MOLLIE AND THE MERCEDES WERE THE TALK OF THE TOWN.
PALM BEACH, A TOWN OF MONEY AND LEISURE.
[ PALM BEACH/ LOCAL/ NATIONAL/ INTERNATIONAL/ GLOBAL/ [TV] NEWS ]
Mollie’s Ship Comes In …
loving every second of 15-minutes (half-a-year) of fame.
Interviews / Parties / Peanut Butter & Jelly offerings
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
Disney buys the rights to Mollie’s story — considers making a movie.
Celebrity of Good Fortune — spontaneous fame.
making the most of it.