[ Hello ]


Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

The moment a rusty Venezuelan freighter crashed into the pool of Ted Kennedy’s neighbor, Mollie Wilmot, the Palm Beach socialite’s 15 minutes of fame began. 

— dave. (originalnoise.org)


Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon

— (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1983 — Palm Beach socialite and so-called philanthropist, Mollie Wilmot, had always lived the “good” life on Palm Beach, with all its seasonal parties, and Bruce Sutka-designed charity balls. Here, stretched out under her “magnificent” Picasso, (‘The Artist Studio, The Open Window’) she comfortably enjoys her afternoon cocktail.

The next year (1984), the day after Thanksgiving, from the same comfortable spot in her luxurious Florida room, Mollie’s ocean view would change dramatically, and she would claim her much more than 15 minutes of fame.

Outside, the wind howled as Mollie Wilmot sat down with family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner, 1984. Sitting comfortably, in a room that would be the envy of many a museums, Mollie was unaware of another experience happening at the same time, less than a mile offshore of her mid-century modern, 11,000-square foot mansion on Palm Beach.

Distressed, and in the dark, a Venezuelan freighter struggled hopelessly against the angry surf that was pushing it toward the shore, and Mollie’s oceanside pool and cabana. Having lost the engine, the small crew made one last futile effort to stabilize the ship, dropping its horribly inadequate anchor.

As the storm raged, and the night grew more dark, Mollie and her company of family and friends reminisced, after-dinner, Thanksgiving style. Coffee and dessert, catching up on upper class gossip, more personal family affairs, and where the clan would gather for Christmas.

As midnight approached, it was time for Mollie to call it (Thanksgiving 1984) a day, and say goodnight to her dinner guests.

A celebratory “good” time was had by all, except for the tired and hungry sailors, helplessly on their way to being ship-wrecked on Palm Beach, often called Fantasy Island.

The troubled Venezuelans struggled through the night, but had no luck in fixing their engine, and just before sunrise, the ship broke free of it’s tenuous anchorage, and unable to resist the still raging surf, was pushed hard, toward the Palm Beach shore.

Mollie was sleeping soundly when, just before sunrise, the boat finally broke free, and soon after, crashed onto the beach into Mollie’s ocean-side pool and cabanas.

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 SNOBBY TOWN.


— dave.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
loving every second of her 15-minutes (six months) of fame.
Parties, Press Conferences, and Peanut Butter & Jelly offerings to the marooned.
Mollie sells the (movie) rights to Disney.

The studio decides not to pursue the project.
Even so, Mollie made the most of her flash celebrity, “good” fortune, and spontaneous fame.
making the most of a freak accident

in a town already filled with freaks.


Richard Lustig — Open Mic talent agent