Mollie Wilmot

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Mollie Wilmot
Born Chicago, IL
Died September 17, 2002
Occupation Heiress

Mollie Wilmot (born Mollie Netcher (died September 17, 2002), Chicago, Illinois) was a philanthropist and socialite. Wilmot spent her formative years in Europe where she studied art and achieved fluency in French. She graduated from the rigorous Foxcroft School. Her grandmother, Mollie Netcher Newbury, launched her career at the Boston Store as a clerk and underwear buyer and was dubbed the 'merchant princess' in her position as owner of the Chicago department store.[1] Wilmot divided her time between an apartment at The Pierre in Manhattan, Palm Beach, FL and Saratoga Springs, NY, boasting to The Times Union in 1998 that she was born at the Ritz Hotel in Paris "feet first, six weeks early and with all my eyelashes."[2]

The Mercedes[edit]

Wilmot soared to prominence in 1984 the day after Thanksgiving when a 197-foot freighter, MV Mercedes I, carrying ten Venezuelan sailors crashed into the seawall of her oceanfront Palm Beach mansion. She served the sailors sandwiches and freshly brewed coffee in her gazebo, offered martinis to journalists and photographers, and granted the stranded Venezuelans access to her pool cabana. The incident received national and international coverage.[3][4]


In her role as society hostess, Wilmot hosted an annual Sotheby's cocktail party to benefit equine research at Cornell University.[5]

Wilmot bequeathed a generous portion of her estate to the Palm Healthcare Pavilion, providing funding for the Mollie Wilmot Children's Center located in West Palm Beach, FL and the Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center based in Saratoga Springs, NY.[6][7] She also contributed to the New York City Ballet, The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the National Museum of Dance and equine research at the Veterinary College of Cornell University.


  1. ^ "Department Stores: Palaces Of Consumerism" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  2. ^ Martin, Douglas (2002-09-27). "Mollie Wilmot, Socialite, Dies - Obituary". Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  3. ^ "Mollie Wilmot; Palm Beach Socialite Played Host to Cargo Ship in 1984 - Los Angeles Times". 1993-11-20. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  4. ^ "Mollie and the Mercedes: 25 years later | News | Shiny Shots by Palm Beach Daily News". Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  5. ^ "Times Union - Albany NY". 1988-07-31. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  6. ^ "Facilities and locations". Saratoga Hospital. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  7. ^ "Donor Stories | Palm Healthcare Foundation". Retrieved 2012-05-17.