Montandon, Pat 1928–

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Montandon, Pat 1928–

(Patricia Montandon, Patsy Lou Montandon)


Born December 26, 1928, in Merkel, TX; daughter of Charles Clay (a minister) and Myrtle (a minister) Montandon; married first husband, c. 1945 (divorced, c. 1959); married Melvin Belli (an attorney; divorced); married Alfred Spalding Wilsey (chair of the board of directors of Wilsey-Bennet Co. and a real estate investor; died, 2001), May 14, 1969 (divorced, c. 1979); children: Sean Patrick Wilsey. Education: Attended Oklahoma College for Women, 1948.


Home—San Francisco, CA. Agent—Julian Bach, Jr., 3 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017.


Writer, columnist, lecturer, public speaker, broadcaster, host, peace activist, and philanthropist. Joseph Magnin, San Francisco, CA, store manager, 1960-64; Saks Fifth Avenue, San Francisco, buyer, 1964-65; lecturer on the Soviet Union, safaris, the liberated woman, and other topics, beginning 1966. Appeared on "Ask the Expert," on KCBS-Radio, 1968, on "Boutique," CBS-Television, 1969, and on "Pat's Prize Movie," ABC-Television, 1966-69. Founder of local Woman's Round Table, 1973. Name Choice Center, founder, 1970s; Napa Valley Wine Auction, founder, 1979; International Children's Peace Prize, founder, 1980s; Children as Teachers of Peace (now Children as the Peacemakers Foundation), founder.


United Nations Association of San Francisco.


Nobel Peace Prize nomination, 1987, 1988, and 1989; Peace Messenger Award, United Nations.


How to Be a Party Girl (nonfiction), McGraw (New York, NY), 1968.

The Intruders (novel), Coward (New York, NY), 1975.

(Compiler) Celebrities and Their Angels (nonfiction), Renaissance Books, (Los Angeles, CA), 1999.

Oh the Hell of It All (memoir), HC (New York, NY), 2007.

Whispers from God: A Life beyond Imaginings (nonfiction), Harper Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2008.

Author of column, San Francisco Examiner.

Author, producer, and director of plays for American Heart Association, 1954-60.


Pat Montandon is a noted philanthropist, peace activist, and socialite whose charitable work has focused on developing and improving international relations and on the critical healing role of children as ambassadors of peace throughout the world. Montandon is the founder of international organizations such as Children as the Peacemakers Foundation and the Name Choice Center. She is the recipient of the United Nations Peace Messenger Award, and is a three-time nominee for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

The Texas-born Montandon was the daughter of two ministers in Merkel, Texas. In 1947, Montandon was one of the first successful heart surgery patients in the world. Since then she has conducted charity work for the American Heart Association and for Charila, a home for girls from juvenile hall. She has become a leader in women's rights, especially interested in the right of choice in married women using their maiden names, and has caused legislation to be passed emphasizing a woman's common-law right to her own name.

Montandon first came to prominence as a socialite and the host of lavish and creative parties in San Francisco. She became a popular broadcaster and talk-show host and served as a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. She published several books, including How to Be a Party Girl, which concerned her role as a popular party host; and The Intruders, a horror novel.

During most of the 1970s, Montandon was married to Alfred Wilsey, a San Francisco real estate investor and food company executive who amassed great wealth as the manufacturer of individually wrapped packets of butter. Montandon's son, Sean Patrick Wilsey, was born during this tumultuous high-society marriage. In 2005, Wilsey, now a New York-based writer, published Oh the Glory of It All, an in-depth memoir of his life growing up surrounded by wealth, prestige, and dysfunction. Wilsey writes frankly about his often difficult relationship with his mother, how he often did not receive the emotional support of his parents, but how he ultimately moved beyond these childhood difficulties.

In 2007, Montandon published her own memoir of those alternately heady and disappointing times, titled Oh the Hell of It All. She follows roughly the same chronology of her son's book, while adding considerable background detail and her own perspective on events from both their lives. She also explores her own personally profound transformation from socialite to peace activist. Reviewer Carolyne Zinko, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, called Montandon's memoir "sporadically entertaining," while Boston Phoenix contributor Ellee Dean remarked that the book "reads like an American-pop fairy tale."

Both Wilsey and Montandon's memoirs "make a solid case against envying the rich," remarked SF Weekly Web site reviewer Frances Reade. Despite disagreements over some episodes in his memoir, Wilsey's book "brought my son much closer to me," Montandon told Nob Hill Gazette Web site interviewer Merla Zellerbach. "Because of this book we've been able to talk about that horrific time in our lives that we never could talk about before. And in truth, that's the greatest gift I could possibly get."



Montandon, Pat, Oh the Hell of It All, HC (New York, NY), 2007.


Boston Phoenix, (April 13, 2007), Ellee Dean, "One Hell of a Socialite," review of Oh the Hell of It All.

Entertainment Weekly, April 12, 2007, Jennifer Reese, review of Oh the Hell of It All, p. 78.

New York Times Book Review, August 26, 2007, Alex Kuczynski, "Mother's Day," review of Oh the Hell of It All, p. 9.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 15, 2007, Carolyne Zinko, review of Oh the Hell of It All.


Children as the Peacemakers Foundation Web site, (June 10, 2008).

Nob Hill Gazette, (June 10, 2008), Merla Zellerbach, "A Mom Speaks," interview with Pat Montandon.

Pat Montandon Home Page, (June 10, 2008).

SF Weekly, (April 25, 2007), Francis Reade, "Oh the Hell with It," review of Oh the Hell of It All.

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Montandon, Pat 1928–

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Montandon, Pat 1928–