Patricia Montandon

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Patricia Montandon
Born (1928-12-26) December 26, 1928 (age 93)
Spouse(s)Howard Groves (div.)
Melvin Belli (div.)
Alfred Wilsey (div.)
ChildrenSean Wilsey
Parent(s)Charles Clay Montandon
Myrtle Taylor

Patricia "Pat" Montandon (born December 26, 1928) is an American author and humanitarian.

Early life[edit]

Pat Montandon was born on December 26, 1928. The daughter of an itinerant Nazarene Church Texas minister, Charles Clay Montandon, and his wife Myrtle Taylor, she grew up in Oklahoma during the peak of the Great Depression. In the 1960s, Montandon was living in San Francisco.[a] During this time, Montandon became known for her talent giving themed and memorable parties. She once dated Frank Sinatra.[1]

Roundtable Luncheons[edit]

In the 1970s Montandon began hosting the Roundtable Luncheons. These Luncheons include discussions of controversial topics by Montandon and her guests, and are currently ongoing.


In 1960, she moved to San Francisco where she hosted a TV show and became a newspaper columnist for the San Francisco Examiner after a summer of managing a Joseph Magnin clothing store.

In 1979, Montandon created the idea for the Napa Valley Wine Auction. Her divorce compelled Montandon to give her idea to the Napa Valley vintners, with her portion of the proceeds benefitting two Napa Valley hospitals.[1]

She is the author of numerous non-fiction books, including The New York Times bestseller How to Be a Party Girl,[2] The Intruders,[3] Whispers from God: A Life Beyond Imaginings,[4] and Oh the Hell of it All.[5] Additionally, she wrote a book called "Celebrities and Their Angels" as well as "Making Friends" about Katya from Moscow and Star from San Francisco; two eleven-year-old girls. Her most recent book, a second memoir titled Peeing on Hot Coals, was released in 2014.[6]

Humanitarian works[edit]

Montandon is an activist for women's rights, and in 1970, she founded The Name Choice Center to advocate for the right of women to keep their own name after marriage.[7]: 60 

In 1982, Montandon founded a peace group, Children as Teachers for Peace (later renamed Children as the Peacemakers).[8] Montandon has made 37 international trips with grade-school children. She has had meetings with 26 world leaders such as China's Premier Zhao Ziyang, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Pope John Paul II, the late Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Mother Teresa. She collects letters written by schoolchildren urging an end to nuclear proliferation, and has delivered food and supplies to children in Russia and Ethiopia.[9]

In 1987, Montandon designed the Banner of Hope. Now, a mile-long, the red-silk memorial is inscribed with the names and ages of children killed in war. The Banner was first exhibited in the Kremlin at an International Women's Congress.[10]

In 2018, Montandon rebranded her organization, now called Peace To The Planet, providing kids a platform to advocate against gun violence and global warming. Peace To The Planet is completing a new banner, similar to the Banner of Hope, showing the faces and names of children killed in gun violence.

Awards and honors[edit]

Montandon was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize three successive years and received the UN Peace Messenger award in 1987.[11]

In 2014, Dr. Jitu Rajgor, founded a women’s health facility in her honor at his clinic in Ahmedabad, India.

Personal life[edit]

Montandon was married three times. Her first marriage, to Howard Groves in 1947, lasted 12 years. In the 1960s, she had a short-lived marriage to attorney Melvin Belli.

In 1969, she married butter baron and billionaire Al Wilsey, and the next year she had her only child, best-selling author Sean Wilsey. As a society wife, Montandon "acquired a reputation for giving the best parties and round-table luncheons."[12] Al Wilsey later had an affair with Montandon's married best friend, Dede Traina (born Diane Dow Buchanan), before he filed for divorce in 1980 in order to marry Dede.[13] The divorce proceedings played out publicly.[14]

In 1975, Montandon won a lawsuit against Triangle Publications for supposedly damaging her reputation.[15]

In popular culture[edit]

Author Armistead Maupin caricatured her as society columnist "Prue Giroux" in his Tales of the City series.[12][9]

Published works[edit]


  1. ^ The manuscript version of her birth certificate can be read Patsy Sue or Patsy Lue but the typescript version is Patsy Lue.


  1. ^ a b Siler, Julia Flynn (2007). The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty. Penguin. ISBN 9781592402595. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  2. ^ Patricia Montandon; Rudolf E. Noble (1968). How to Be a Party Girl. McGraw Hill Book Company. ISBN 978-1470119065.
  3. ^ Montandon, Pat (1975). The Intruders. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. ISBN 0-698-10636-9.
  4. ^ Patricia Montandon (2008). Whispers From God: A Life Beyond Imaginings. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0061373923.
  5. ^ a b Kuczynski, Alex (27 August 2007). "Book Review: Oh the Hell of It All". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Pat Montandon - Peeing On Hot Coals". Book Passage. September 25, 2014.
  7. ^ Patricia Montandon (2007). Oh the Hell of it All. Harper. ISBN 978-0061146060.
  8. ^ “Peace Organizations, Past and Present; a Survey and Directory”, by Robert S. Meyer. McFarland, 1988, p. 79. She auctioned her couture wardrobe, jewels and furs to fund the organization and its many accomplishments.
  9. ^ a b Carolyne Zinko (April 15, 2007). "DOUBLE TROUBLE / High anxiety in high society?". San Francisco Chronicle.
  10. ^ Retrieved 11.30.11.
  11. ^ "Pat Montandon". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Robin Abcarian (April 9, 2007). "Title sounds familiar: Now, it's mom's turn". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Holson, Laura M. (September 24, 2016). "Dede Wilsey Is the Defiant Socialite". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (May 27, 2005). "A Rich Boy's Poor Childhood". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Newark Advocate, October 15, 1975: She received in Triangle Publications vs. Montandon (75-195) a $150,000 judgment for publishing a statement that was or had been a call girl.
  16. ^ "HOW TO BE A PARTY GIRL by Pat. Montandon | Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  17. ^ Fleming, Michael (6 August 2003). "'Intruders' casts spell over Focus". Variety. Retrieved 15 October 2019.