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Discussion Starter #1
A thread for a forgotten era-the 1940's. World War two left Europe in ruins, and American women were so dominant they won all the major events(The Aussie wasn't a big event then) in that decade except for one, won by Belgian Nelly Landry.
 

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An article on the first Aussie great-Nancye Bolton. Many think she would have been a Margaret Court if only Aussie officials hadn't been so cheap and sexist towards the women. In this era Aussie men got money to travel overseas to Wimbledon and Europe, while the women were usually left behind in Australia.

http://www.theage.com.au/sport/2001/11/14/FFXO7CJJYTC.html


Pioneer empowered women's game

By SELMA MILOVANOVIC
Wednesday 14 November 2001

Nancye Bolton was a tennis player ahead of her time.

When straight-laced, genteel lobs over the net were the norm in the 1940s, she peppered the court with blitzing forehands.

She looked different, too - towering over other players at 180 centimetres, she broke the prim, "lady-in-white" tennis tradition with a knotted handkerchief around her neck on hot days.

Bolton died last Friday, aged 84, but her innovative playing style and off-court popularity have etched her memory deep into Australia's tennis history.

Bolton was 19 when she first competed in the Australian final in 1936. She lost to Joan Hartigan, but came back the following year to claim the crown. By 1952, she was the winner of six Australian titles, 10 doubles and four mixed titles.

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"What made her special was the sort of boyish freedom and her attacking stroke," tennis historian Paul Metzler said from Sydney. "There was never a dull moment when she played. If it was getting a bit quiet, she would crash three winners and bring the crowd to its feet."

But her natural ability to win and fierce determination to stay on top was borne out of hard times.

In 1942, her husband, Air Force Sergeant Peter Bolton, was killed in the Second World War, leaving her with a four-month-old daughter, Pam.

As Nancye Wynne, she had already claimed two Australian titles - in 1937 and 1940 - as well as being the first Australian woman to reach the United States singles final in 1938. And nothing was going to stop her winning streak.

"Nancye Wynne was a very appropriate name because she won every damned thing and then she became Nancye Bolton and she bolted," Metzler said.

As soon as the war ended, Bolton resumed her reign in Australian tennis.

Wylma Smith, a Melbourne and country championships player for many years, remembers a chance encounter with her idol when Bolton was in the twilight of her tennis career. Smith was playing with Glen Iris, where Bolton had come to fill in for a doubles match with East Malvern. Even now, the memory draws a gasp from a fan who followed Bolton's every tennis move. "I don't think I could hit the ball in the court," Smith said.

Always a crowd-pleaser, Bolton had no time for on-court tantrums. Exciting tennis was all she cared for, but she spared a thought for the underdog.

"If she was playing in the doubles with someone who was more of a battler, her attitude was, 'Don't you throw that ball at her on the net or you might cop it yourself'," Smith said.

Bolton left tennis in 1952, but the glory did not stop there. By 1976, she had won 17 club championships at Kew Golf Club. At 52, she was even a runner-up for the Victorian title.

Then it was lawn bowls, at Auburn Heights.

She was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.

"There was a carefree thing about Nancye Bolton's play that nobody else has ever approached," Metzler said.
 

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Thanx Rollo for the article..... here's some other info on this Aussie champ Nancye Wynne Bolton....

She was once ranked by Norman Brooks in the mid 50's in the top 10 women of all time but he did say she was brilliant but erratic.

Her serve was very strong, as was the forehand but could go missing.

She was constantly in trouble with the stuffy LTAV, not asking permission to play in tournaments in Dubbo and Wagga therefore banned from exhibitions for a month!

She hit a ball in the 1940 Aus titles into the gallery and it landed near the govenor of New South Wales. She was rebuked and told that if the team about to tour New Zealand was an official one she would have been banned.

Her husband was killed in an air raid over Cologne.

Louise Brough was her nemesis after the war losing in qtrs at Wimbledon, semis at Forest Hills blowing a 5-2 40-0 in the thrid to lose 7-5. She held a no. 4 ranking for that year.

Bolton and Thelma Coyne Long won the Aus doubles title 10 times.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sam asked about Gussie Moran: here's a good link and long article on her>

http://www.petticoated.com/gussie19.htm

Her "knickers" caused the Wimbledon officials to get their own knickers in a bunch in 1949. It was Ted Tingling who designed
them. He talks about them at length in his books "White Ladies and "Love and Faults".

Gussie was good enough to make the semis of the US nationals in 1948, but after her panties became famous her sex-pot image overshadowed everything else. She gave tons of photographers, boys, and dirty men bad backs, as they often could be seen lying on their stomachs at ground level looking up to get a peek at her panties.

By 1950 she decided to strike while she could and turned pro, almost unheard of for women in those days. Her opponent was 46 Wimbledon winner Pauline Betz. When they opened the pro tour in Madison Square Garden Pauline upstaged Gussie by coming out in hot leopard shorts!:eek: The tour only lasted one year(Betz killed Moran), and because she had turned pro Moran couldn't return to amateur tennis.

She dated lots of movie stars and almost married an Indian maharajah.

Oh-and she advertised luggage in tennis magazines as late as the 1960s. Guess the memory of her lasted!
 

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Discussion Starter #6


This is her in 1968.

American tennis star Gussie Moran made headlines with her trademark frilly underpants (which she modeled, along with a revealing tennis outfit, on the roof of a London department store in 1968). But she wasn't thrilled: "After the lace panties, everyone was always staring to see what I was wearing and I couldn't concentrate on tennis," she told London's Daily Express in 1949.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Apparently she influenced our language as well:

GUSSIED UP

From W S Penn: "My searching for the origins of gussied up has been noticeably a failure in finding anything other than "origin obscure". It is used for something or someone that is all dressed up or fancy. Anything you have would be appreciated."

Actually, "origin obscure" is a pretty fair summary, but I can put some flesh on the bones.
As you say, something gussied up has been made more attractive, but in a showy or gimmicky way, so it's often not intended to be a compliment. It can also refer to dressing in one's finery for some special occasion, when it is intended to be taken more straightforwardly. It is usually considered to be an American expression, dating from the late 1930s or thereabouts. So it's a little odd that the first recorded use of gussy as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary comes from a British source, Morris Marple's Public School Slang of 1940, though that doesn't refer explicitly to a verb.

Many people associate the term with more recent events. The American tennis player "Gorgeous Gussie" Moran is best remembered for appearing at Wimbledon in 1949 wearing frilly panties, which caused considerable interest and controversy. Could she have been linked to the phrase? Apart from that odd 1940 example, the first attested use given in the OED and other dictionaries is from 1952, which would fit nicely.

It is possible that the publicity associated with her Wimbledon appearance helped the verb along, and may even have generated gussy up from the existing noun, gussie. But all this is speculation, alas, and we may never know the precise circumstances attached to its invention.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Here's another famous woman from the 1940's -Doris Hart. Hart wrote a book I'd like to read (Hart on Hart)covering her career. Doris came up with Shirley Fry right after Louise Brough and Margaret duPont. Hart and Fry were about the only doubles Team that could give Brough/DuPont trouble. Doris had some epic doubles matches with her two rivals.
In 1951 Hart won Wimbledon and was at last #1, but later that year a little dynamo named Mo Connolly stormed onto the scene.





Notice her right knee. She suffered from this as a child. It was often wrongly written that she had polio when young.
 

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Doris Hart

Hi Rollo,

"Hart To Hart" is a nice read - Miss Hart is *very* modest when describing her accomplishments. Her comments on her loss to Maureen Connolly in the US 51 semi are interesting...

FYI, I've seen "Pat & Mike", a typically entertaining Hepburn and Tracy "road" movie of the period. KH is the pro sportwoman under ST's management, and from the footage shown in the movie (when's she's playing Gussie Moran), it's really obvious Miss Hepburn could definitely play, and play well. I also remember reading an article on her in which she stated how much she loved playing and best of all, it was accompanied by an old b&w photo of her, sometime during the late 30's I would guess, looking totally divine in a white "cocktail" style tennis dress, having just hit a forehand with perfect form (and serious intent!) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Rboi:wavey: I look forward to more of your posts. You sound like the best read poster of us all!

Katherine Hepburn is one of my all-time favs. "Bringing Up Baby" always gets a laugh out of me no matter how many times I see it.
I'll keep an eye out for "Pat and Mike".


What did Doris have to say about "Mo"? The story about how Connolly coach filled her with lies about Hart because she was Mo's idol is a classic! Poor Doris-working so hard for years as a perennial #3, finally passing her older rivals in 1951 and briefly getting to #1-just in time to get run over by Connolly.

Here's another Hart pic I found with her doubles partner Fry.




 

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A list of some of Hart's acheivements. She was quite versatile and able to win on all surfaces.

Doris Hart (b.1925), a prolific champion with 325 major titles, was the second woman after Maureen Connolly to win all four Grand Slam singles events. Remarkably, Hart achieved her record despite an impaired leg resulting from a childhood iillness.

Stricken with osteomyelitis at 15months, Hart recovered with the support of her parents and her brother, who taught her tennis. By age 16 Hart was ranked in the Top 10 where she stayed through 1955. In 1947 while a University of Miami undergraduate, she won her first Grand Slam title, the women's doubles at Wimbledon.

With her superb racket control Hart developed a greater variety of shots than any other player of her day. A legendary doubles player, Hart teamed with Shirley Fry to win 11 major championships. She was among the first women to take the Wimbledon triple crown in 1951 and the French in 1952. In 1954 she earned the No.1 ranking with a triple crown at the U.S. nationals, retaining her ranking in 1955. She won the USTA Service Bowl Award that same year.

Hart retired from play after 1955 and became a teaching professional. A member of the U.S Wightman Cup Team from 1946 to 1955, Hart served as Captain of the winning 1970 U.S. Team.

Career Highlights

35 Grand Slam titles (6 Singles, 14 Doubles, 15 Mixed Doubles)

Ranked in USTA Top 10 from 1942 to 1955; No.1 in 1954 and 1955

Three Grand Slam Triple Crowns (Wimbledon 1951, France 1952, U.S. 1954)

Winner of USTA Girls' Sportsmanship Award 1943

U.S. Girls' 18 Champion in Singles (1942, 1943) and Doubles (1940, 1943)

U.S. Singles Champion 1954, 1955

U.S. Doubles Champion 1951- 1954

U.S. Mixed Doubles Champion 1951-1955

Wimbledon Singles Champion 1951

Wimbledon Doubles Champion 1947, 1951-1953

Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion 1951-1955

French Singles Champion 1950, 1952

French Doubles Champion 1948, 1950-1953

French Mixed Doubles Champion 1951-1953

Australian Singles Champion 1949

Australian Doubles Champion 1950

Australian Mixed Doubles Champion 1949, 1950

U.S. Clay Court Champion in Singles (1950) and Doubles (1944, 1945, 1950, 1954)

U.S. Indoor Champion in Doubles and Mixed Doubles 1947, 1948

U.S. Hard Court Champion in Singles and Mixed Doubles 1949

U.S. Wightman Cup Team Member 1946-1955 (21-1 record); Team Captain 1970

Winner of USTA Service Bowl 1955

Author, Tennis with Hart

Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame 1969

U.S. Grass Court and Indoor Women's 55 Doubles Champion 1981
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Probably the best of the 40s amazons was Pauline "Bobby" Betz. She had 5 grand slams-with 3 of those coming during World War 2. After the war she was the woman to beat, winning Wimbledon and the US in 1946 and mising a triple by a hair when Osbourne(duPunt) saved a match point in the French final. In 1947 the USTA suspended her and Sarah Palfrey for TALKING about turning pro. They played each other briefly, but Pauline was never again allowed to compete at Wimbledon or other amateur events.

In 1960 there was a little known women's pro tournament in Cleveland. This unique event was the only women's pro tennis tournament until the Open era. Pauline Betz barely lost the final to Althea Gibson 7-5 in the third.
 

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Pauline at Wimbledon-1946



From the ITA:

Paulinen Betz Addie (b.1919), four-time U.S. singles champion in the 1940's, was renowned for her peerless backhand and 'killer instinct.' When international play resumed after World War II, Betz became one of a handful of champions to win on her first try at Wimbledon in 1946.

Raised in Los Angeles, Betz learned tennis on public courts. She was offered a scholarship by Rollins College where she played Np.4 on the men's team and graduated as the top economics student in 1943. Letz later earned an M.A. in economics from Columbia University.

As an undergraduate in 1942, Betz won her first U.S. singles title. She repeated her victory in 1943 and 1944 and triumphed at both Wimbledon and Forest Hills in 1946. That year she also played a key role on the U.S. Wightman Cup team, dubbed the 'Betz Club.'

Betz turned professional in 1947, enjoying a 13-year undefeated career on tour with such notables as Don Budge and Bobby Riggs. In 1949 she married Washington Post sportswriter Bob Addie. After retiring as a player she remained an active teaching professional while raising her five children.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #17
Found this article about Gussie Moran-QUITE a character.

Gussie Moran: The first Anna

By Diane Pucin
Los Angeles Times

November 7, 2002


LOS ANGELES -- Gussie Moran had legs that went on forever. She walked, the late designer Ted Tinling said, as if she were tiptoeing across tennis balls. She was a California girl with a California tan. She was a jock, she was beautiful, it was 1949 and Gussie Moran showed her lace panties at Wimbledon.

"Gussie was," says Jack Kramer, part of Los Angeles tennis royalty, "the Anna Kournikova of her time. Gussie was a beautiful woman with a beautiful body. If Gussie had played in the era of television, no telling what would have happened. Because, besides everything else, Gussie could play."

This week the top 16 women's tennis players in the world are playing at the season-ending WTA Championships in Los Angeles.

There you will see Serena Williams and her tight, taut, flamboyant cat suit, the outfit she showed off while winning the U.S. Open. Serena's sister, Venus, already has a $40-million clothing deal with Reebok. Serena's Puma contract is up soon. It is a safe bet Serena will earn more than Venus.

For wearing the lace panties, for being so daring as to display her knees, to be seen on the cover of magazines worldwide, to find herself playing matches where the camera flashbulbs would nearly blind Moran during her matches, she made no money.

Moran is 79 now and she wears her brown-gray hair in two pigtails, held in place by rubber bands. She wears wool tights in an argyle pattern of gray, black, pink and white. Her skirt is lightweight and pale green with a ruffle at the bottom and her sweater is blue, red and white. Moran has on big, round glasses tinted light blue. Moran still defies style convention.

In the afternoon sun, cats play in the courtyard as Moran steps outside and for a moment all you can think is that Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond character has walked off Sunset Boulevard and William Holden must be right around the corner.

She lives in a single room in a run-down building with the cement sagging. It is just off Melrose Avenue and behind Paramount Studios in Hollywood. There is a mattress on the floor. Newspapers are everywhere, for Moran loves cats and four of them have the run of her place. On one wall are dozens of cards — holiday cards, birthday cards, friendship cards. On the windows are bedsheets made into curtains. This is Moran in 2002.

In 1949, Gussie Moran was a tennis sensation. Moran came to Wimbledon and caused a scandal. Tinling had made for Moran a tennis dress with a skirt so short it didn't cover the knees and, for underneath, white panties trimmed in lace. A glimpse of those lace panties every once in a while on the body of Moran caused Wimbledon brass to cover their eyes and photographers from around the world to lie on the ground so they could shoot "Gorgeous Gussie Moran" from the bottom up.

When Moran played that Wimbledon, tennis was still a sport for amateurs. Moran had paid her way to the tournament for which there was no prize money, only honor.

When Serena Williams walked proudly onto Stadium Court at the U.S. Open in her pink and black form-fitting leotard, after all the gasping, Williams was compared to the daring "Gorgeous Gussie."

Gussie lives on what little Social Security she earned from some of her dozens of careers. She receives occasional money from an anonymous Australian friend. She would like to come to Staples Center to see this tournament. "But I can't afford a ticket," Moran says.

She loves Serena's forward fashion approach. "The cat suit was fun," Moran says. "It was attractive on Serena's body. She should show off that body and what's wrong with having a good time with your clothes and your body?

"I see nothing wrong with what Anna Kournikova does. She's a beautiful girl with a beautiful body. I love it."

She blushes when told that Kramer compared her to Kournikova. "Oh, no," Moran says. "I was never that attractive."

But even now, after some face lifts that might not have been perfectly planned, behind the skin carved deep with wrinkles that came from all those days in the sun, on the beach, that came from her perfect California tan, there is the outline of that beauty.

Moran has blue eyes that sparkle, a delicate nose, an upturned mouth.

"If I could have a wish," Moran says, "it would be to have a face lift."

But no, Moran is told, that is not necessary. "Maybe not," she says, "but I would like one."

Author Roger Kahn, a long-time friend of Moran's, remembers his first meeting with the glamour girl. "It was at Dodgertown in the 1950s," Kahn says. "All I saw were these legs attached to that body attached to that head. She asked me if I would work out with her. I said I don't play tennis but I play volleyball. So we played volleyball."

___

For nearly two hours Gussie Moran tells stories.

She tells of learning to play tennis as an 11-year-old, the daughter of Harry and Emma, of a sound technician at Universal Studios and a housewife. She speaks of her childhood in a big, wood, Victorian house a block from the ocean in Santa Monica.

"I think they shoot commercials at that house now," Moran says. "What I miss most about it is the water. I used to be able to run across the street to the beach."

Moran lost the house in the 1980s. She was a victim of rising taxes and maybe of some bullheadedness.

"Gussie asked for too much money," Kahn says. "She couldn't get it sold and then they foreclosed. Gussie used to tell me, 'I always felt a little inadequate about our house because it was wooden and all my friends had stone houses.' That was Gussie. She had this pride and she had a desire to live a certain way."

Moran started taking tennis lessons in school and she developed quickly an aptitude. She played at Santa Monica High. She was part of traveling junior teams in Los Angeles with Kramer and Louise Brough, who would be a Wimbledon champion.

There were stories of how Moran would be invited to play tennis at the home of Charlie Chaplin. "My best friends were Charlie's children," Moran says. Greta Garbo would come by to hit with Moran, Olivia DeHavilland traded forehands with Moran.

In tennis, Moran was skilled but never a great champion. The depth of women's talent in the U.S. was great and Moran is proud to have been ranked as high as No. 4 in the U.S. She was a doubles finalist at Wimbledon once and was a singles semifinalist at the U.S. Open.

Moran was 25 at the 1949 Wimbledon, coming off her best year on the circuit. But distracted by the fuss over the panties and uncertain how to handle the attention that came to her because of her body instead of her skill, Moran lost in the first round.

Within two years, Moran had left the world of amateur tennis and was enticed onto a pro tour run by Bobby Riggs.

"It was a bad decision by Gussie," says Kramer. "Bobby matched her against the great Pauline Betz who was, at that time, by far the best athlete ever to play our sport and she was also most competitive. Pauline was merciless. Not only did she beat Gussie, she tried to outdress her.

"I remember one time, Gussie came out at Madison Square Garden in a gorgeous outfit. Then Pauline came out in a leopard leotard type thing and basically outdressed Gussie in clothes, then undressed her on the court. Really, that tour was a tragedy for Gussie. I don't think she got much money out of it either."

She was promised $87,000, Moran says. "I hardly saw any of that," she says. But Moran dismisses that time as "something I did for fun." In her life Moran has been married three times — "to a former [British Royal Air Force] pilot from Jersey," she says, "the owner of a trucking company from Buffalo and an attorney from California." None of the marriages lasted more than two years and there were never any children.

After her unhappy time in the Riggs show, Moran began a peripatetic life that took her between New York and California several times. She toured military bases and hospitals as part of a tour put together by Bill Tilden. She was in a chopper that crashed while doing a USO tour in Vietnam. She did a television interview show with Bob Kelly, voice of the Rams. She did a sports talk and news show in New York for nearly six years. She came back to Los Angeles and did an afternoon television show with Bob Kennedy. It was called "Sundown." Guests such as Rosemary Clooney and Ray Charles made the program a hit.

In New York, Kahn says, Moran was a great entertainer. "She had a lovely townhouse on the upper East Side, two stories, and she'd have the most interesting parties. She was very bright, very intelligent. We would talk literature, poetry, sports. She had a mouth on her and a great sense of humor. But Gussie liked to live a certain lifestyle, maybe a bit above her means."

In the 1960s, Moran put together a clothing design company with a friend. "My clothes were in Saks Fifth Avenue and Bullocks," Moran says. "But then some things went wrong and I lost my money. I invested my own money. But everybody got paid back, they did."

She taught tennis at a Lake Encino club started by former great Alice Marble. She was a field representative for fabric manufacturer Kordel and even wrote a column for Tennis magazine.

Money never stayed in Moran's bank account for long and by the 1980s she was working at the Los Angeles Zoo in the gift shop. In 1991, her final job was as a clerk at a clothing store on Wilshire. "I lasted three and a half months," she says. "Then I quit and I haven't been able to get a job since."

Moran speaks of having more than one abortion and tells a horrific tale of being gang-raped during a 1975 centennial celebration in Santa Monica during a performance by Lawrence Welk and his orchestra. She recalls only being rescued from a dumpster by two bums who took her to a hospital.

"I never heard her tell that story," Kahn says, "but I don't doubt it happened."

Moran still walks with assuredness, with the rolling gait of an athlete and complains only of memory lapses that followed the Vietnam chopper crash, and some arthritis in her hands.

She voted Tuesday and proudly displayed her "I Voted" sticker. She eagerly discusses the broadcasting pluses of John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. "I love how they speak their minds," she says.

There is loneliness, Moran says. She has no immediate family, only some cousins. "I write them," she says, "but they don't write back."

Kahn often receives long letters from Moran and he says that friends sometimes hesitate to see Moran because they want to help her. "And Gussie has the pride of a great athlete. She does not want, or expect, help," he says.

Says Moran: "I know what people have been saying about me, I've heard it for 40 years. They say I'm a hooker, that I'm a drunk, that I'm insane. Well, I'm not insane, but maybe I'm eccentric. I'm not a drunk, though I do take a drink. And I've been promiscuous, but I've never been a hooker."

Moran takes joy in seeing the young women tennis players proudly displaying their athletic bodies. "I was not very comfortable doing so," Moran says. "Maybe it would be different now."

She just shakes her head no when asked if she ever thinks about the money she might have made and no again when asked if she feels she was born too soon, that she might have had a very different life as an attractive player in 2002.

"My only regret," Moran says, "is this: I was about 16 and entered in a local tournament. I had my driver's license and I wouldn't let my mother drive me. She wanted to very much but I wanted my independence. I realize now that my mother, who was a housewife, had only a few chances to leave her world and be out, meet people, see different things.

"I see now that I was being quite selfish and to this day I have carried tremendous guilt about that Sunday afternoon."

There are tears in Moran's eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
[email protected] this quote from Jinx Falkenburg. Jinx was a tennis player good enough to play the US Nationals in 1942 , the top model of her era, a B-movie star actress, and later went on to host a radio program. Eat your heart out Anna K!

Anyhow-how's THIS for a quote:

Newscaster: “Tell me, now that your husband is a tennis professional, do you watch him play?”

Model Jinx Falkenburg: “(I get) too nervous. But just before a match I always kiss his balls.”
:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Jinx was born in 1919 to a multicultural family, her mom being the female champ of Chile. She used her dark "Latin" looks to become a World War Two cover girl . Jinx crashed out in round one at Forest Hills in 1942 while her brother Bob won the US nationals that year.

Jinx in 1957-aged 38.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Jinx had a fling with Charlie Chaplin in 1937 (she was only 18-Charlie liked em young) while he was still married to her friend actress Paulette Goddard. Chaplins twin passions were tennis and seducing young virgins.

Jinx was a minx. Bad girl:devil:
 
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