By Lookout Staff
October 31, 2013 -- Fifty-four years after making a fashion splash by revealing her lace underwear on the court, world-famous tennis pioneer Gussy Moran will have her name on the courts of a park in her native Santa Monica.
Gussy Moran Stadium Court at Christine Emerson Reed Park will be dedicated Sunday at the park rechristened two decades ago to commemorate the late Santa Monica mayor.
Moran, who died in January at the age of 89, was a world-class tennis star who sometimes traded serves with Greta Garbo and Olivia de Havilland at Charlie Chaplin’s house in Santa Monica Canyon.
Born in a Victorian house overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Ocean Avenue, Moran took up tennis when she was 11 and played at Santa Monica High School. In her twenties she was ranked as high as number 4 in the world in the amateur circuit.
Her biggest claim to fame came in 1949, when she earned the nickname “gorgeous Gussy” by playing the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in a short skirt that revealed lace panties.
After retiring from amateur tennis in 1950, she signed a one-year contract to play on a professional tour managed by Bobby Riggs, a world champion who would gain international fame a quarter century later when he challenged Billie Jean King in
“The Battle of the Sexes Match.” (King beat Riggs in three straight sets.)
Moran went on to work as a sports director in radio and television, continuing to compete in tournaments into her early forties.
In June, at the urging of Council member Kevin McKeown, the City Council voted to name Stadium Court at Reed Park in her honor.
“In addition to adding the court signage a permanent didactic sign with biographical information about Ms. Moran will be installed,” City officials said Wednesday.
The dedication will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. at Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. For more information call 310.458.8300.