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More on Marble

Interesting postings on Alice Marble. Concerning details on her personal life, some things mentioned seem to border on mere conjecture, but as Rollo mentioned, marital information isn't too difficult to track down.

I recently read "Courting Danger" but didn't get the fictional/sensationalist vibe from it others allude to - and I tend to be a fairly skeptical thinker. Further, for those familiar with esoteric research on covert intelligence agencies (German, British and American) during this time-period, none of what Marble writes seems very far-fetched...particularly in comparison to the Vatican's "rat-line" funding/involvement in smuggling key Nazi's to South America, "Operation Paperclip" (the wholesale importation of Nazis to America post-WWll), and a whole slew of other, on the surface, bizarre, nonsensical stories. Perhaps the truth is stranger than fiction.

What I personally think Marble should be remembered for, is, first and formost, the revolutionary style in which she played the game. As the first, genuine attacking serve-volley female champion, historically, her game was indeed seminal. The fact that she actually wore shorts on the court in the late 1930's, makes Navratilova doing it today seem almost passe. In the early 1950's, she publicly challenged the tennis status quo to provide Althea Gibson the opportunity to play in tournaments so that she might actually qualify for participation in the slams. Clearly, Marble was an individual well ahead of her time, and as Rollo states, deserves more attention than she currently gets.
 

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I know Jamie Delgado on the men's tour, he is British but half-spanish I think, is gay. Jan Michael Gambill is not confirmed to be gay but is widely suspected of being homosexual.

Some lesbians on the wta tour as per my knowledge:

Rennae Stubbs, Lisa Raymond, Janette Husarova, Conchita Martinez, Patricia Tarabini, Laura Montalvo
 

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Maria Bueno might not call herself a lesbian ... and she may have gotten married ... but she was having relationships with women. So let's just say she was human. An angelic one at that. :) Also, I thought Esther was her middle name?

Rennae Stubbs is well known as a lesbian within insider circles. But of course she doesn't advertise it ... except for Martina, who does?
 

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Discussion Starter #105
Santorofan-What a heartfelt post about Alice. Whatever else she may or may not have done, you reminded us what a positive influence she had.

Roan-you are a wealth of info on Marble and put the finger on my problem with the spy story-Alice Marble in Switzerland late in the war? It would all make a great book if someone had the notion.

I'm not sure I buy the theory about about Alice being a "flat-out" lesbian though. For one thing I would imagine in those days there was a feeling out process. Having Teach and Jacobs (her good friend) as role models would have made Marble more accepting of homosexuality, I'll give you that. The whole Hollywood slant is another side of Marble I wish I knew more on.
 

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Discussion Starter #106 (Edited)
A followup on Will Dupont. Much of this comes from Stan Hart's book "Once a Champion", where he interviewed tennis stars form the 40s and 50s. Brough, Dupont and Marble are all interviewed-and Dupont helped them all in one way or another. He was a one man bank who funded the top women for years.

And he WAS interested in Alice. Interested enough to finance her and Teach (read Ted Tinling). Interested enough to have an affair with her WHILE he was married to Margaret Dupont (p.328). Brough confirmed it, saying "Yes, but they were always good friends. Alice was a good friend of Margaret's. Will started seeing Alice, I think, when he was still married to his first wife."

Will moved to Palm Springs and built a house there. Next to it he built a house for Alice and Mary Browne (US champ from 1912-14). He was going to leave it to Alice but when he died his daughter contested it.

Dupont herself later divorced Will and moved in with Margaret Varner. Hart more or less declared they were lovers in his book, and hinted (very round about) at rumours about Shirley Fry. Even Brough never had children and in Hart's interview voices how "I don't like to touch people."

The whole Brough-Dupont, Fry-Hart period has wonderful undercurrents to it-and we'll never know the half of it!
 

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Discussion Starter #107 (Edited)
Info from Hart's interview with Alice.

Hart mentions Alice's husband in his 1984 book, saying he died two weeks before the end of the war. Will Dupont was married to Margaret from 1947 to 1964.

"Will wanted to marry me." (p.214) From 1964 she took over his house at La Quinta and got paid for being caretaker.

At the end she lived on his estate where she and Browne had a house. "He paid for it..and two days later he died. His heirs wouldn't let us keep the house, and rather than battle over it" she moved out.

She lived off a trust fund Will established for her.

I don't have Courting Danger handy. When did she have her flings with Hans and the Mexican (?) woman?
 

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Rollo said:
I don't have Courting Danger handy. When did she have her flings with Hans and the Mexican (?) woman?

In "Courting Danger" it says the affair with Hans was in 1938, right after Wimbledon. Personally, I don't think there was a Hans. I just don't buy this whole idea that a woman in 1938, would meet a total stranger and within a few hours be in love with him and having sex with him on a beach. Especially, since according to the book, Alice had never had sex. Now, I do think that like many women who were gay or bisexual Alice was under a great deal of pressure to either invent male lovers, which is what I think she did in "The Road To Wimbledon" Although, I don't know for sure she invented Hans. That may have come from the woman who helped write the book. As For Margarita "Tica" Madrigal, a half Costa Rican/American it was in 1939,that she met her. I don't know a thing about the woman other than she has written several books on speaking spanish.

Back to my theory :) I do think she had a long lesbian relationship with Teach Tennant. A while back I read Helen Jacobs's book "A Gallery of Champions" I think it was called and in that Helen refers to Teach as Alice's "coach and friend." Often times, back in the 30s lesbian lovers were called "friend" I also was surprised that right after Alice got sick in Paris in 1934, the person Jacobs got in touch with was Teach not a member of Alice's family. Also, I found it interesting that during that time when travel was so difficult Teach was willing to drive clear across the US to meet Alice. Later, Alice goes back to SF, but after two weeks she contacts Teach and asks Teach to come all the way from L.A. to SF and pick her up. And of course Teach does it. Teach then goes on to pay all of Alice's medical bills. Eventually, the two of them are living together in Palm Springs. In "The Road To Wimbledon" Alice writes very warmly of that time.

As for Dupont, I really don't know what was going on with that guy. He may very well have been a man who simply "looked the other way" in regard to both Margaret and Alice. Certainly both Margaret and Alice were under pressure to cover up any hints of lesbianism. Back then it was against the law and you were viewed as being a pervert. If anything came out it would have destroyed their careers. I think that eventually some of that pressure may have caused Teach and Alice to split up. Alice had an affair with Dupont, but I really think it was more about her wanting to fit in to society than about her really being in love with him. Like I said, I think in the end the "love of her life" was Teach, but that relationship may have been doomed because first, Teach wanted too much control over Alice's life and second because Alice, like Margaret, wanted to conform to what the world around her wanted :sad:
 

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Santorofan said:
What I personally think Marble should be remembered for, is, first and formost, the revolutionary style in which she played the game. As the first, genuine attacking serve-volley female champion, historically, her game was indeed seminal. The fact that she actually wore shorts on the court in the late 1930's, makes Navratilova doing it today seem almost passe. In the early 1950's, she publicly challenged the tennis status quo to provide Althea Gibson the opportunity to play in tournaments so that she might actually qualify for participation in the slams. Clearly, Marble was an individual well ahead of her time, and as Rollo states, deserves more attention than she currently gets.

I agree that Alice Marble was a great champion and well ahead of her time. What she did for Althea Gibson was great and took a lot of courage given the attitudes of the times. I think Alice could have won even more titles had the war not been looming over head and she felt the need to turn pro. I also, think Teach Tennant was a great woman and role model. This was a woman who played tennis at a time when it was not an easy thing to do. There was no money in the game and Teach played at a time when woman got little help. I don't even think Teach had a coach. Still she was able to be ranked as high as number three in the US a fact most tennis fans don't know. Tennant had to figure things out as she went along. Tennant was a woman who even more than Alice was ahead of her time. There's only a few things I really know about her. She wrote a tennis book with Maurice McLoughlin in about 1923, and in 1920, she was able to become an amateur tennis player again even though she was known to have been teaching tennis back in California. I think in about another month I'm going to try and get her biography which was written by Nancy Spain. Spain was a well-known English lesbian who wrote many books. There's even a book out about her. I forget the exact name. It's something like the trouser wearing lady or some such thing. She was well known for wearing pants which was quite shocking at the time. :eek: Anyway, one thing I do wonder about and that is why is Tennant a "well-known" lesbian. Did she ever talk about it or was it simply a case of people looking at her and thinking she just was?
 

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Discussion Starter #110
Thanks for all the info RoanHJ:) While you theory remains unprovable, I have to admit it sounds plausible.

Not sure I can answer the question about Teach, but Tinling wrote as early as 1979 that she admitted to being on "intimate terms" with a notorious lesbian, "Madame Helen." In the Hollywood set Teach liked to move in one doubts her sexuality would have been much of a handicap. It sounds like she was selectively "out".

I would be curious to read that biography as well. With Marble and Connally to her credit Teach has to be one of the best coaches in history.
 

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Perhaps I''m alone in my specticism, but I'm not convinced that Marble was either a total lesbian or had an intimate relationship with Teach Tennant at all. Although I suppose anything's possible, I'm simply not aware of any hard evidence to support such assertions. So many of these allegations about different players seem to be primarily based upon speculation and/or innuendo (and perhaps a pinch of wishful thinking?).

I've noticed that on certain threads, people who may identify with one particular group or another may sometimes be quick to judge others as being part of the same exact category of identification (as if lavender ran in one's veins!), and ergo, "claim" those individuals within the specific group category they personally identify with. In reality, however, life is not always quite as cut and dry. For some, sexuality is a more complex (i.e. fluid) experience, for others, their personal identity is not particularly based upon mere sexual behavior or urges. And while there certainly was ample reason for prudent discretion during this time period, to me, that alone doesn't support the conclusion that so and so was a "closet" lesbian.

No offense to anyone; just my humble opinion!
 

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tilden said:
Just been reading this thread - thanks for all the detailed information RoanHJ. What able Alice and Carole Lombard?
They were friends. In one of the biographies I sort of skimmed through on Carole I did read that she liked being around lesbians. She had Teach as her coach and her personal secretary was said to be a lesbian. I'd have to get the book again to check out exactly what was said. But anyway, it seems Carole was sort of the Madonna of her time in that regard :lol: There were rumors about Carole being bisexual mainly because she like to swear up a storm and she was something of a tomboy/jock. But, no, I don't think those rumors were true.
 

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Rollo said:
Info from Hart's interview with Alice.

Hart mentions Alice's husband in his 1984 book, saying he died two weeks before the end of the war. Will Dupont was married to Margaret form 1947 to 1964.

"Will wanted to marry me." (p.214) From 1964 she took of his house at La Quinta and got paid for being caretaker.

At the end she lived on his estate where she and Browne had a house. "He paid for it..and two days later he died. His heirs wouldn't let us keep the house, and rather than battle over it" she moved out.

She lived off a trust fund Will established for her.

Thanks for the info. I'm still in the learning and doing the research process so there's still a lot I need to know. Like I said this is a theory and I do not pass it off as absolute fact. I do have a few questions:

1. Did Alice herself say she was married? I know in both her first book and in her second "Joe" is killed a few weeks before Christmas of 1944, months before the end of WWII. Second did Alice, again herself, say she had an affair with Will Dupont and did she give a reason as to why she wouldn't marry him? Finally, did she say why in the first book she said she did not marry the guy?

Ok, now on to the next thing :drive: What would you think if instead of Teach Tennant, Alice had had a male coach and with him she did the following things:

1. In both book one Alice talks about Teach coming to SF and taking her to a musical event, in book two it's a party, but anyway, let's say Tom Tennant shows up and asks Marble's mom can he take Alice out with him and his friends. And he keeps her out till midnight which upsets old mom.

2. Tom Tennant has Alice come down to stay with him in L.A. One day he takes Alice up to Hearst Castle where the two of them share a wonderful room together for almost a month. Just partying and having a good time with the Hollywood crowd. :banana:

3. Finally, after Alice gets sick Tom Tennant goes clear across the US, either by car or train, to pick up Alice. Takes Alice to a hotel, which he pays for, and stays with her a few days. Then goes back to SF with her. Two weeks later Tom gets a letter from Alice which says she wants him to drive up from L.A. all the way to SF to pick her up. He does it. Now after that Tom pays for all of Alice's medical bills. He drives 25 miles up and back to visit her while she stays in a sanitarium that he's paying for. He buys her gifts.Afterward, Alice and Tom start to live together.

4. After, Alice gets better Tom quits his great job at a richy tennis club to go and coach/travel with Alice full-time. Rather rare back then. Given the fact Alice could not pay Tom's way or pay him as a coach.

5. Soon, Tom is living with Alice in NYC. Tom not only coaches Alice but also pretty much acts as her manager.

6. Finally, in 1942, Alice is not playing amateur tennis nor is there a real big pro thing going on. Instead she's writing for comic books, doing some things for the FDR administration etc. but she and Tom continue to live together. Even though she hardly needs a coach anymore. I'm not sure how long they live together, but if we go by "Courting Danger", it's from 1942-1945.


Whew, now about Will Dupont. Dupont helped a lot of players not only women but men as well. According to "The Dupont Family" by John D Gates, Bill Talbert was sort of his private coach. Dupont did give money to many women and he did have a wandering eye. He did like Alice. He apparently liked Margaret too. Will divorced in 1941, if Alice had wanted to marry him she had the time to do it, but she was still living with Teach. She does not marry him. He then marries Margaret.

Now, my thing is, that yeah maybe Alice did have an affair with Will. Now in "Courting Danger" she denies it. But I don't know. Margaret married the guy and it didn't mean she was 100% straight :rolleyes: Anyway, looking at this thread from a history point of view I think what you're seeing with Alice is pretty typical behavior from someone who is very unsure of what to do. Society does not embrace the idea of her having a relationship with Teach. Everything at that time would have pushed her to get married. Especially, to money bags Dupont :yeah: But she didn't. Why in heavens name would totally heterosexual Alice turn down a chance to marry a multi millionaire if she were in love with him? :confused:
 

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...because she wasn't in love with him. :)

RoanHJ I don't have the time to respond to your whole posting, but in brief, it isn't at all unusual for coach-student relationships to be extremely close while still remaining platonic. It does happen! But using the same logic, Guga and his coach Larry Passos have been having the affair of the century...why they've roomed together, they're as close as father and son, Guga's not married, etc. Again, anything is possible but where's the real proof based on actual facts? Further, from what I recall, Alice came from fairly humble means (wasn't it a single-parent household?), in which her own mother likely didn't have the funds and opportunity to travel clear across the country when she became ill. In fact according to Courting Danger, Alice's own mother's health was not good for a very long time (I recall she secretly hid her own cancer or another fatal illness from Alice right up until she died).

Conversely, beyond Teach's genuine concern for Alice, like any coach relationship, to her Alice must've been quite an investment (for lack of a better term). If you race horses and your top thorobred's sick, you take care of it, for if it becomes permantly ill or dies your years of time invested is simply wasted. To track everything down to some clandestine lesbian relationship is a bit of a stretch, an assumption.

Was Teach's Mo Connolly a lesbian too? Maybe the real reason Maureen eventually split away from Teach was a case of a jilted lover?

Too bad Alice isn't here to set the record straight, but unfortunately she's not, so I'd prefer to not conjecture about the most intimate and private areas of her life... Ok, I've written more than I ever wanted to on this - that's all I have to say!
 

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Santorofan - I can't understand your problem with acknowledging that Marble was gay. It seems to me it is as plain as day. And she obviously has acknowledged relationships with women in that extraordinary biography. I am happy for you not to conjecture about the "most intimate and private areas" of Marble's life (that's a promise I hope, especially some of your interesting definitional manoeuvrings - like whether someone is a "total lesbian" or participated in a "clandestine lesbian relationship") - but I have to say that RoanHJ's contribution to the board is fascinating. And I think your throw away lines about Keurten and Little Mo are a bit silly actually!

So hang in there RoanHJ and keep digging. BTW has BJK ever said anything about Marble - as she was coached by her as a teenager and they had a bit of a falling out as I recall.
 

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"Tilden"; by posting what I have, I correctly assummed I wouldn't be winning any popularity contests, particularly on this board. But it's important for me to, when I choose to disagree with something, to argue the point based upon its own merits, as opposed to trying to slight the actual individual who made the post.


I believe we're all adults here right? Let's hold ourselves to a higher ground, shall we?
 
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