billie jean king biographie

Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Game, set…tennis! She was perhaps one of the greatest doubles players in the history of tennis, winning 27 major titles. This article was most recently revised and updated by,, National Women's History Museum - Billie Jean King and the Battle of the Sexes, International Tennis Hall of Fame - Biography of Billie Jean King, California Museum - Biography of Billie Jean King, Billie Jean King - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Billie Jean King - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). She has been honored by an array of organizations, notably earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Embracing the spectacle of the event, King entered the court in a gold litter carried by four muscular men, while Riggs rolled in on a rickshaw pulled by a team of women called "Bobby's Bosom Buddies." In that same year King admitted to having had a homosexual affair with her former secretary, who was suing King for material support. In 2009 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After a series of losses to top-seeded players in various competitions around the country, King made sports headlines for the first time in 1961, when she and Karen Hantze Susman became the youngest pair to win the Wimbledon women's doubles title. The USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, home of the US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament, was rededicated as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2006. Billie Jean’s first sport was basketball. King retired from competitive tennis in 1984 and the same year became the first woman commissioner in professional sports in her position with the World TeamTennis League. As player-coach of the Philadelphia Freedoms, she was one of the first women to coach professional male athletes. While participating in a tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Club in 1955, Billie Jean was barred from a group picture of junior tennis players because she wore the tennis shorts her mother made her instead of the tennis dress traditionally worn by female athletes. For all her tennis accomplishments, Billie Jean King is probably best known for her 1973 match against former men's champion Bobby Riggs, dubbed the "Battle of the Sexes." Yet through it all, her crusade against inequality in all forms never waned, and she continued to receive recognition for her many contributions to both tennis and the fight for parity. Her father mentioned tennis, and shortly afterward, Billie Jean was introduced to the sport by her friend, Susan Williams. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. She divorced her husband in 1987 and settled into a long-term relationship with former player Ilana Kloss. She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987, and then later became the first woman to have a major sports venue named in her honor. She held the #1 ranking for five additional years (1967-1968, 1971-1972, and 1974). © 2020 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. American tennis great Billie Jean King broke down barriers by pushing for equal prize money for women and becoming one of the first well-known openly gay athletes. King was athletically inclined from an early age. Her tireless efforts to fight injustice and discrimination worldwide continue today. Susan took her to a country club, where Billie Jean played for the first time. King is the youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She began to play on Long Beach’s public courts using a racquet she purchased herself with money earned from odd jobs. She followed up with repeat wins in 1967 and 1968. She continued to play WTA doubles matches sporadically, until retiring for good in 1990. She lobbied for equal prize money for men and women at the U.S. Open, and a sponsor was found to level the playing field. The film drew generally strong reviews, with both Stone and Carell earning Golden Globe nominations for their performances. Leveraging her position as its most celebrated player, she threatened a boycott of the 1973 U.S. Open if the pay inequality was not addressed. In 2019, the Long Beach, California City Council honored Billie Jean, a native of Long Beach, by naming its new library the Billie Jean King Main Library. The U.S. Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money to both sexes. Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs during a press conference for their “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, 1973. The budding tennis star married Larry King in 1965 but soon found herself wrestling with her feelings for other women. While she was experiencing incredible success in her professional life, her personal life was about to come under national scrutiny. “I am going to be No. American singer and songwriter Carole King has written or co-written over 400 songs that have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists. In 1961, Billie Jean gained international recognition for the first time when she and Karen Hantze Susman became the youngest pair to win the Wimbledon women’s doubles title. As she entered fifth grade, she asked her father what sports she could play to continue to achieve success. King's accomplishments have gone beyond the world of tennis. Renowned for her speed, net game and backhand shot, King was a regular presence in the winner's circle in singles, doubles and mixed-doubles tournaments over the next few years. Her efforts paid off in 1966, when she won her first major singles championship at Wimbledon. However, her parents suggested she try a more "ladylike" sport, and at age 11, she began to play tennis on the Long Beach public courts. In 1973, King spearheaded the formation of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). She married law student Larry King in 1965. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Martin Luther King Jr. was a scholar and minister who led the civil rights movement. The following year, Billie Jean went on to co-found the inclusive World TeamTennis co-ed circuit and started the Women’s Sports Foundation, dedicated to creating leaders by providing girls access to sports. The young athlete set the bar high for her tennis game. Her efforts paid off in 1966, when she won her first major singles championship at Wimbledon. Billie Jean King, née Billie Jean Moffitt, (born November 22, 1943, Long Beach, California, U.S.), American tennis player whose influence and playing style elevated the status of women’s professional tennis beginning in the late 1960s. In so doing, King became the most prominent female athlete to have come out as a lesbian at that time, but she subsequently lost all her endorsement contracts as a result. "It would ruin the women's tour and affect all women's self-esteem. The following year, King and her husband, Larry King, founded the World TeamTennis (WTT) co-ed circuit. King and her husband, Larry King (married 1965–87), were part of a group that founded World TeamTennis (WTT) in 1974. Much of his work has been adapted for film and TV. In 1973, she formed the Women's Tennis Association and famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes." The match took place on September 20, 1973, at the Houston Astrodome. ", READ MORE: How Billie Jean King Made Women's Sports History During the 'Battle of the Sexes'. 1 ranking in women's tennis, King turned professional. The 55-year-old Riggs had assumed an overtly chauvinistic public persona to bait the sport’s top women into playing him, and after he easily defeated multi-time champion Margaret Court in the "Mother's Day Massacre" of May 1973, he secured King as his next opponent. A board member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which she formed during her playing days, she has also served as acting director for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the National AIDS Fund. 2017 - 2020 © Billie Jean King Enterprises, Billie Jean’s brother Randy, born in 1948, pitched for 11 years for several Major League Baseball teams: San Francisco Giants (1972-1981), Houston Astros (1982), and the Toronto Blue Jays (1983.). Their second child, Randy, became a Major League Baseball pitcher. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. She went on to capture a record 20 Wimbledon titles (singles 1966–68, 1972–73, and 1975; women’s doubles 1961–62, 1965, 1967–68, 1970–73, and 1979; mixed doubles 1967, 1971, and 1973–74), in addition to U.S. singles (1967, 1971–72, and 1974), French singles (1972), and the Australian title (1968); her Wimbledon record was tied by Martina Navratilova in 2003. Reverend Bernice A. King announced her retirement from singles play after winning Wimbledon in 1975, but she resumed singles competition two years later and continued through 1983. The match set a record for the largest tennis audience and the largest purse awarded up to that time. The Moffitt family was athletic. In her career she won 39 major titles, competing in both singles and doubles. In 1970, she joined the Virginia Slims Tour for women, and in 1971, King became the first woman athlete to earn over $100,000 in prize money. Billie Jean Moffitt King set a record for career Wimbledon titles, winning 6 singles, 10 doubles, and 4 mixed between 1961 and 1979.…. In 1958, King emerged as a talent to watch when she won the Southern California championship for her age bracket, and in 1959, she started to receive coaching from former women's tennis great Alice Marble. We strive for accuracy and fairness. Billie Jean had realized that she was interested in women, and had begun a secret relationship with a woman in the early 1970s. Altogether, King won 39 major singles, doubles and mixed doubles championships, including a record 20 at Wimbledon. In 2014, she founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to addressing the critical issues required to achieve diverse, inclusive leadership in the workforce. 1 in the world,” Billie Jean told her mother. In 1973 she beat the aging Bobby Riggs in a much-publicized “Battle of the Sexes” match. She was one of the founders and the first president (1974) of the Women’s Tennis Association. After a few years of promising play, King won her first major singles championship at Wimbledon in 1966. She soon realized, though, that the standards for young women playing the game were different than those for young men. He is best known for his primitive style and his collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol. A decade later, in 1981, Billie Jean was publicly outed as a lesbian, and as a result, she lost all of her endorsement deals. The campaign for pay equality gained a worldwide audience of over 90 million when Billie Jean battled tennis player and self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes.” Bobby had claimed the women’s game was inferior to the men’s and Billie accepted his challenge to prove him wrong. Corrections? On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama for her advocacy work on behalf of women and the LGBTQ community. In 1968, having claimed the world's No. Bill earned a tryout for an NBA team before becoming a firefighter and Betty was an accomplished swimmer. King remained active in tennis and since the mid-1990s served as coach for several Olympic and Federation Cup teams; in 2020 the Federation Cup was renamed the Billie Jean King Cup. (Her secretary lost the lawsuit.) In the meantime, she remained a force in doubles for many years, winning Wimbledon in 1979 and the U.S. Open in 1980. Afterward, King acknowledged the pressure she felt that day. Bobby Riggs was an American tennis champion best known for facing women's star Billie Jean King in the 1973 'Battle of the Sexes.'. The couple resides in New York City. In 1972, she won the U.S. Open, French Open and Wimbledon to claim three Grand Slam titles in one year. Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Neo-Expressionist painter in the 1980s. Coretta Scott King was an American civil rights activist and the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Billie Jean King during her “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome, September 20, 1973. In 1959, Billie Jean turned pro, and former women’s tennis great Alice Marble became her coach. The story of the 1973 King-Riggs match spawned the 2017 feature film Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs. But King was all business once the match started, and she handily beat Riggs in straight sets before an estimated television audience of 90 million viewers. Between 1961 and 1979, Billie Jean won a record 20 Wimbledon titles, 13 United States titles (including four singles), four French titles (one singles), and two Australian titles (one singles) for a total of 39 Grand Slam titles. The United States Tennis Association honoured King in August 2006, when it renamed the National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She went on to successfully defend that title in each of the following two years, and added her first U.S. Open singles championship in 1967 and her only Australian Open triumph the following year. Billie Jean King became the top-ranked women's tennis player by 1967. She attended California State University, Los Angeles from 1961 to 1964, and continued to compete in tournaments while also working as a tennis instructor. King turned professional after 1968 and became the first woman athlete to win more than $100,000 in one season (1971). In 1973, at the height of her competitive years, Billie Jean leveraged her position to spearhead the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association and became its first president. King served as the player-coach of the Philadelphia Freedoms, thus becoming one of the first women to coach professional male athletes. Between 1961 and 1979, Billie Jean won a record 20 Wimbledon titles, 13 United States titles (including four singles), four French titles (one singles), and two Australian titles (one singles) for a total of 39 Grand Slam titles. Billie Jean Moffitt was born on November 22, 1943 in Long Beach, California to parents Bill, a firefighter, and Betty, a homemaker. From the moment she put the racquet on the ball, Billie Jean knew what she wanted to do with her life. Billie Jean’s brother Randy, born in 1948, pitched for 11 years for several Major League Baseball teams: San Francisco Giants (1972-1981), Houston Astros (1982), and the Toronto Blue Jays (1983.).

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