Wills' obituary. LOL@her comment on Navratilova
Tennis great Moody was net trail-blazer
By The Associated Press
CARMEL, Calif. -- Helen Wills Moody, the hard-hitting, poker-faced tennis star who won eight Wimbledon singles titles during the 1920s and '30s -- a record that stood for 52 years, until Martina Navratilova -- has died at 92.
Moody, who died Thursday at Carmel Convalescent Hospital, was a premier figure in America's golden era of sports, sharing newspaper headlines with the likes of Babe Ruth, football's Red Grange, boxer Jack Dempsey and golfer Bobby Jones.
She won 31 major titles, including seven U.S. Opens and four French Opens.
She hit the ball harder than anyone she faced, slamming both forehand and backhand shots the full length of the court. Her serious demeanor earned her the nickname "Little Miss Poker Face," and her trademark white eyeshade became an enduring tennis accessory.
"She never showed any expression on the court. Nobody knew what she was thinking," said Margaret Osborne duPont, a Wimbledon singles winner in 1947.
Moody won her first U.S. women's tournament in 1923 and retired after winning at Wimbledon in 1938. She was 18-2 in singles matches at the Wightman Cup, a women's team event between Britain and the United States.
In her later years she followed tennis closely, watching on television.
"She admired Martina Navratilova greatly," Los Angeles tennis historian Jeanne Cherry said. "I once asked her how she felt about Martina breaking her record, and she said, 'Well, you know, she pumps iron.'"
Navratilova won her ninth Wimbledon singles title in 1990.
Moody, a surgeon's daughter, learned the game without ever taking a lesson, picking it up from watching players at the Berkeley Tennis Club.
One year after she started playing at age 14, she won the first of her two girls national titles. She was just 17 when she won the U.S. women's singles championship -- the youngest champion at the time.
She won an Olympic gold medal in Paris in 1924. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1959 and was The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1935.
Charlie Chaplin, when asked to name the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, once said: "The movement of Helen Wills playing tennis."
She attended the University of California at Berkeley.
Off the court, she was a recluse. Tennis great Alice Marble called her the "Greta Garbo of tennis."
Her autobiography, "15-30: The Story of a Tennis Player," was published in 1937. In the 1920s, she also wrote a tennis instruction book and a mystery, "Death Serves an Ace."
She divorced her first husband, Frederick Moody, in 1937 and married Irish polo player Aiden Roark two years later, taking the name Helen Wills Moody Roark.
She had no survivors. Her ashes will be scattered at sea. No service will be held.