Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ailing Sonia who took the White House by storm

Sad news today that Lady Sonia McMahon, widow of ex-Prime Minister Sir Billy McMahon is in the private wing of St Vincent's Hospital being treated for cancer. It's the third time Sonia has faced treatment and she has successfully fought of the disease before.
At 77 there is no keeping the much loved society figure down. Only late last year she recovered after a fall down the gangplank of media mogul Paul Ramsay's cruiser at a birthday party on Sydney Harbour and was soon back out on the party and charity circuit. Sonia is a regular at the Melbourne, Sydney and Ascot horse racing meets.
Lady Sonia at the White House with Richard Nixon
It was in 1965 when Lady Sonia and her husband Sir Billy, the then Prime Minister paid a visit to the Richard Nixon White House and the snaps of their ascent /descent of the White House stairs for a state dinner went flashing around the world making front page news as everyone asked who was the stunning 6ft blond in a revealing dress with slits up the side. The Washington Post has described the gown as the most talked about fashion item ever to be seen in Washington. That dress is now stored in the Powerhouse Museum.

Sonia was 20 years younger than Sir William when she married him in 1965 when he was 57. It has long been rumoured that Sir Billy was gay and had been advised by Liberal Party founder and Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies to marry if he wished his career in politics to advance. Lady Sonia and Sir William subsequently had 3 children.

Son Julian McMahon is a former model and the star of the US series Nip Tuck and is currently working in South Africa on the film The Smell Of Apples with Gillian Anderson.
Sonia & son Julian McMahon at Johnny Baker's funeral
Lady Sonia & Priscilla Presley
Julian fell out with Lady Sonia when against her wishes he married Danni Minogue in a short lived marriage in the late 1990's.
Sonia also faced legal battles when daughter Debra challenged the will of her late father and demanded a share of his estate. Estranged from her mother for several years, Debra turned to Spiritualism and alternative religious beliefs.
Julian has returned to Sydney to be by his mother's bed-side and was at the funeral of the late society walker Johnny Baker in August 2009 where Lady Sonia and her 3 children appeared united once again.