On Sunday I went with the family for lunch at Scotty's Landing and then we all trooped over to see the King Mango Parade on Main Highway. Suddenly I see Baron Joseph De B. Dobronyi dressed in his Tyrolian best being driven down the street in a convertible in honor of his status as "famous resident" of the Grove. It brought back a flood of memories. I first met Sepy way back in 1964 when my best friend in High School took me over to his house on Ye Little Wood. My friend lived on El Prado and had somehow ingratiated himself with the famous Baron of the Grove. Baron Dobronyi lived in a house he had designed in the shape of a charging bull that still stands and where he still lives. Imagine our surprise as 14 year old kids to walk into what for all appearances was a swiss chalet complete with crossed skis over the giant mantelpiece. Among all the great stuff laying about this mansion, I was most impressed with a gold statue of a naked Ava Gardner that apparently had been one of his many conquests. We later learned that Sepy sculpted the statue and was one of the great playboys of the western world. To us Sepy was the coolest guy we had ever met and I can tell you his record still stands with me. How cool? Well, he even had his own custom made cigarettes with cork filter and his coat of arms! Super cool!
Many years later, I mentioned him to a friend who worked with me on Wall Street and to my surprise he had met Sepy while skiing in Switzerland! He had impressed my friend just as much as he had me! He was that charismatic. Sepy got around and rubbed elbows with all the Paris Hiltons of his day. He had wonderful stories. Born in Hungary in 1922, he was a military pilot during World War II, escaping the Russians by traveling on foot to Austria, and eventually to Sweden. In Sweden he learned jewelry making and sculpting and was forced to emigrate after some scandalous liaisons with royal figures there. From there he went to Cuba where he hung around with Hemingway and visiting celebrities like Errol Flynn and John Wayne. One of these, a young and not-yet successful Hugh Hefner, who probably modelled himself after Sepy, later convinced Sepy buy his property in the Grove to which he fled in 1961 after Castro came to power. Hefner featured Sepy in the August 1956 issue of Playboy, for his sculpture of Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg, whom he was dating at the time.
During the 60's and early 70's, Sepy's home was the sight of an almost continous party where anyone who was anyone visiting Miami had to go. Sepy hosted many celebrities such as Frank Sinatra when he was filming his "Tony Rome" detective movies here in Miami, part of which was filmed at his home. This led to his home being used for other films such as "Lenny" the 1974 movie documentary about Lenny Bruce starring Dustin Hoffman. But what people remember most is that Deep Throat, probably the most famous porn film of all time, featuring the luscious Linda Lovelace was filmed at Sepy's home. Ferenc Dobronyi, one of his two sons, remembers what it was like to grow up in Miami as the son of the Deep Throat guy. “Miami in the ’70s was a party,” he says. “It was a helluva experience. When I would go over to his house, there were naked people everywhere — Playboy models, movie stars. He knew how to charm the pants off anybody.” Amen to that! He has managed to charm the pants off everyone, but he has been most successful at literally charming the pants off a cadre of beautiful women!