Works in Progress

I had been proud to marry the artist, Ronald Mallory, known for his hypnotic chemical art. David Rockefeller, The Whitney, The Nelson Aldrich Museum and the Museum of Modern Art had collected Mallory mercury sculptures. Mercury and jet engine oil were combined then encased in plastic and motorized. When the mercury descended through the oil, the movement was erotic. The speed of descent depended on the weather. If the mercury fell into an air pocket, the effect was orgasmic.
Because of our friendships with other artists such as Rothko, Richard Lindner, Christo, Andy Warhol, we had a modest art collection. Not only did talented Ron charm the rich, social, status conscious collector, but sometimes he sold his sculptures directly to them.
Marriage to Ron Mallory was fun and introduced me to a world I felt unable to be a part of without him. We sailed from St. Tropez to Capri on Errol Flynn’s yacht, the Black Swan, owned by Felix Mechoulam. Felix treated my husband as his son and called him ‘Ronaldito’ and made his millions by selling brooms to Mexicans. At Capri we stayed in Felix’s villa though he owned the Quississana Hotel where we dined on langouste and fruite de mar.
In Palm Beach we had dinner at philanthropist Patrick Lannan Sr.’s museum like home as he had been a collector of Ron’s sculptures. Most people were afraid of billionaire Lannan’s temper. I liked him. He was an elegant, strapping man who enjoyed reciting Dylan Thomas when he entertained.
On the beaches of St. Tropez Ron and I lunched with Bada Muller who was the son of the King of Kuwait and whom Harold Robbins immortalized in his novel, THE PIRATE. Bada had invited me on a date, but I preferred Ron Mallory which caused a great deal of tension for Ron and me socially in St. Tropez.
As guests Ron and I were invited to villas, on cruises and to castles in Verona, Italy and Spain. We vacationed during winters in Megeve and during summers in St. Tropez or Sardinia. At the King’s Club of the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz we drank and danced with the Shah of Iran. In Manhattan we dined with Julie Christie and Warren Beatty who introduced himself to me at a party and within a few sentences propositioned me. “If you ever want me, just call the Carlyle,” he said. “Some nerve,” I thought feeling he was rude and conceited.
In Porto Cervo Ron and I were guests for a dinner at the Aga Khan’s home where I spilled red wine on his white carpet and silently went to another room hoping not to get caught. We danced in discotheques in St. Tropez along side Brigitte Bardot and partied there with Romy Schneider, Dominguin, Pierre Salinger, Allesandro Onassis, Spyros and Phillip Niarchos, Roman Polanski and Prince Juan Carlos De Bourbon of Spain who would become King.
Then one summer Ron, and I were invited on a cruise with Austrian born art collector Sam Spiegel who was well respected for producing LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and ON THE WATERFRONT.
Sam had seen me on the beach of St. Tropez walking topless out of the water dressed in a black bikini bottom and bullet belt slung on my hips, then the rage. The beaches of St. Tropez were like cocktail parties. Screenwriter David Newman who wrote BONNIE AND CLYDE introduced us to Sam and minutes later Sam asked if we wanted to go on a cruise with him the next morning to Corsica.
“Be on board at 6 AM,” Sam said sternly. “Don’t be late or we’ll leave without you.”
Five days later after meeting a witty and charming Kirk Douglas in the port of Cap Ferrat and dining with a quiet and sullen David Niven in the port of Portofino, we found ourselves gazing at the splendor of the Corsican coastline while thinking about the impending surprise luncheon and wondering who would be the mystery guest.
“It’s Princess Grace!,” I said to my husband Ron about the woman with a battered straw hat, a one piece suit and red rubber thongs who stepped off the rubber raft. “And there are Prince Rainier with Princess Caroline and Prince Albert,” I said, peering through binoculars at guests who were coming on board Sam Spiegel’s 110 foot yacht, The Melahne. Sam was producing NICKOLAS AND ALEXANDRA and wanted Princess Grace to star as Alexandra. In true producer style Sam had kept his rendezvous with the royal family a secret.
Though middle aged Princess Grace was no less a beauty without make up. She was natural in appearance and in her unpretentious personality. I was wearing a white bikini which could have sparked jealousy in women, but she was without this emotion, instead she was warm and gracious.
Close up Prince Rainier was handsome. He was not photogenic. When he spoke, he had no airs. No pretensions. He was down to earth and aware of other people’s feelings. I had the impression that besides being charming, he was kind.
Nervous about protocol, Sam did not know how to seat his guests for the luncheon so Prince Rainier helped Sam by offering to sit by my side.
Wine was poured in abundance. Sam wasn’t the only one nervous, I thought, as I drank my first glass of white wine. During the lunch, I finished a bottle.
Princess Grace was intimidated by Sam and was quiet throughout the luncheon. I could tell by her aloof manner when she addressed Sam that she had no interest in returning to films.
“We almost capsized in the storm last night,” Prince Rainier said to Sam. I wondered why their sailboat was only thirty feet in length.
“Glad you didn’t,” Sam said. “Have some filet mignon or fresh langouste.”
There was a great deal of silence so to pierce the somber air I asked Prince Rainier, ”What sign are you?”
“Gemini and you?” he asked with a half smile.
“Capricorn and I’m from Philadelphia,” I said, smiling at Princess Grace who let out a chuckle.
“I’m from Philadelphia, too,” she said. “What part are you from?”
“Springfield, Delaware County,” I said, starring into her beautiful eyes.
“I’m from Lower Merion. Thereabouts,” she said, in her lilting voice.
“I used to teach school there. Art to 7th graders. Welsh Valley Junior High.”
“I know it well. Sam, it’s good to see you have some culture and education on board besides the film industry.”
Sam’s eyes glistened. He rarely smiled. Sam had been raging for the entire cruise until we met the royal couple. I knew his temper was his fear of approval. I wanted Her Serene Highness and His Serene Highness to like me, too. That was part of the reason I drank.
After lunch we all retired to the top deck. Rather tipsy from the wine, I lay for a few minutes trying to sunbathe then we began discussing exercise. Prince Albert was doing push ups on a mat in front of us. In an attempt to join in, I found myself doing push ups at Princess Graces’ feet when I fell on my face.
“Je suis mal eleve,” I said which translated meant I am badly raised.
Princess Grace laughed at my bad pun and for a moment I felt the love I longed for from a sister.
When the Royal family left our yacht, sadness overcame the Melahne. Sam’s dark mood returned as our vessel sailed back to St. Tropez. But Ron and I would never forget these few hours.
When Princess Grace died, I wrote Prince Rainier with my condolences. In his letter to me he expressed his gratitude for my having written and fondly remembered our cruise.

Each winter when Ron Mallory and I returned to our one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, Ron seemed to think that I was a great hostess to some of these people. Before each dinner party I would clean wine glasses with Windex.

Despite our glamorous lifestyle, as strange as it may seem, there was hollowness to it all. I felt a lack of purpose. Unfulfilled. Because I felt inferior to these celebrities, I developed the habit of drinking heavily in their presence. In the fall, I realized part of the problem was that I no longer loved Ron.

Selected Works

In LOVING MAILER, Mallory details her passionate affair with the renowned author and Pulitzer Prize winner.
FLASH is fast, smart and irresistible to read.
Memoir in progress
PICASSO'S GHOST....Meeting Claude Picasso, Pablo's son, and falling in love