Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gorgeous Gussie

Gorgeous Gussie won fame as a tennis player. But she enters our story here because in the 1950's her name was linked to that of Pat DiCicco.

Gussie Moran

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gussie Moran
Country United States
Born(1923-09-08) September 8, 1923 (age 88)
Santa Monica, California, USA
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Turned pro1950
Gertrude "Gussie" Agusta Moran[1] (born 08 Sept. 1923, Santa Monica, California)[2] is a retired American female tennis player who was active in the 1950s. Her highest US national tennis ranking was 4th.[3]

 Early life and amateur tennis career

Moran's father (died 1960) was a sound technician and electrician at Universal Studios, and possibly because of his connections Moran worked as an extra in a few movies of the 1940s, and her tennis groups occasionally enjoyed Sunday soirees at Charlie Chaplin's mansion (she only had lunch alone with Mr. Chaplin one time, however). When Moran was 17 their family was informed that her older brother had been declared missing in action in World War II. She was devastated by the news, and soon went to work at the nearby Douglas Aircraft Company, helping to assemble airplanes for the war effort. She also joined USO tours to California hospitals and military bases.
Moran entered several amateur tennis tourneys in California, eventually rising to eligibility to play at Wimbledon in 1949. Preparing for that appearance, she asked the official Wimbledon host, Ted Tinling to design her outfit. She asked for one sleeve to be one color, the other sleeve to be another color, and the skirt to be a third color. Because of the tournament rule that all outfits had to be white only, he declined but later agreed to design an outfit that complied with the rule.[1] Her outfit, a short tennis dress with ruffled, lace-trimmed panties, was short enough for her panties to be visible during the match, a first for any tournament.[4]
Her outfit drew considerable attention; reporters covering the event began calling her "Gorgeous Gussie",[4] and photographers fought for positions where they could get low shots of Moran,[4] with the hope of glimpsing the lace.[1] The event scandalized Wimbledon officials,[5] prompting a debate in Parliament.[1] Moran, who was accused of bringing 'vulgarity and sin into tennis' by the committee of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club,[1] later reverted to wearing shorts.[2] Tinling, who had acted as official Wimbledon host for 23 years, was shunned for the 33 years following the incident (he was invited back to Wimbledon in 1982).[6][7][8]
A 1988 interview with Moran reported of the 1949 Wimbledon event:
Wimbledon officials went mad, and Moran, shocked by the reaction, went into a shell. The first and only time she wore the outfit on court, she walked with her racket in front of her face. "I was embarrassed . . because they were putting so much adulation on the character, 'Gorgeous Gussie'. You know, I was really never anything to write home about. I was a plain girl. But Life magazine ran a picture calling me Gorgeous Gussie, and the British picked it up and did a real job with it. Then people would see me and I'd hear them say, 'I've seen better-looking waitresses at the hot-dog stand.' I just went to pieces. Emotionally, I couldn't handle it."[9]

 Professional tennis career

Following the 1950 Wimbledon tournament, where she was seeded seventh, Moran's amateur career ended when she began to tour as a professional with Pauline Betz',[3] using the dress incident as the main draw.
Her popularity led her to a cameo appearance (as herself) in the 1952 sports-oriented American movie Pat and Mike, which featured Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.[1] It also allowed her to adorn magazine covers worldwide, and her name was given to a racehorse, an aircraft, and a sauce. She even posed in her frilly panties in department stores[10]
One of her last tournaments was at the 1971 U.S. Open, apart from competing in the Women's Singles where she was eliminated at the first round, she also partnered Chuck Diaz at the Mixed Doubles.

 Later life

In 1951 Moran began working for Los Angeles television Channel 4, doing a 15-minute interview with the voice of the Rams, Bob Kelly. In 1955 she became a sports newscaster at WMGM in New York City, a position which lasted until 1961. After leaving WMGM she and a partner became active in manufacturing and selling her own line of tennis clothing (that business closed on 21 Nov. 1963). She then returned to California and became hostess of a racket club in Palm Springs. The hostess position did not last long, however, so she became co-host (with Tom Kennedy) of a daily TV interview show in Hollywood called Sundown. She was fired after eleven weeks (the show was to run for 13 weeks) when she referred to the Catholic religion as a political party.[9]
Moran then returned to giving tennis lessons at a Lake Encino racket club, remaining there for two and a half years. In 1969 she became advertising manager for Tennis World magazine.
In 1970 she participated in another USO tour, this time to Vietnam. While there, her helicopter was shot down, and she suffered several broken and dislocated bones.[9] After recovering from that accident she obtained (1972) a radio sports director position in Los Angeles, at station KFAC, but left after a short stint. She then free-lanced for a fabric manufacturer, and wrote columns for Tennis magazine. She worked for Tennis Unlimited, a promotional company.
Moran was living at the family's Santa Monica home, a Victorian structure with an ocean view,[11] but with her mother's death in 1977 she was unable to keep up the property taxes, and was evicted on 26 April 1986. She is currently living in a one bedroom apartment with her five cats in Los Angeles.

 Personal life

Moran was married three times. Her first marriage at age 19 was to an ex-Royal Air Force pilot; that marriage was later annulled. Her second marriage at the age of 30 was to Eddie Hand, a transport firm executive, also known as Mr. Y in the book “Beat the Dealer” by Edward O. Thorp.[12] Her third marriage at the age of 37 was to Frank ("Bing") Simpson, a Los Angeles lawyer-yachtsman. Both her second and third marriage ended up in divorce. Moran has no children.

 Career statistics for Gussie Moran

 Singles wins

DateName and location of the tournamentCat.($)SurfaceFinalistScore
11948US Hardcourt ChampionshipsHard (outdoors)US Hardcourt 1948

 Doubles wins

DateName and location of the tournamentCat.($)SurfacePartnerFinalistScore
11948US Hardcourt ChampionshipsHard (outdoors)Virginia WolfendenUS Hardcourt 1948s

 Doubles tournaments (losses)

DateName and location of the tournamentCat.($)SurfaceWinnersPartnerScore
11949The Championships, WimbledonG. ChelemGrass (outdoors)Louise Brough Clapp
Margaret Osborne
Patricia Canning Todd8-6, 7-5Wimbledon 1949

 Wins in Mixed Doubles


 Finals in Mixed Doubles

DateName and location of the tournamentCat.($)SurfaceWinnersPartnerScore
11947US Women's National Championships, Forest HillsG. Chelem0Grass (outdoors)Louise Brough Clapp
John Bromwich
Pancho Segura6-3 6-11947 Tennis Open


  1. ^ a b c d e f
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b Female players & the 1950–51 Pauline Betz-Gussy Moran tour
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^
  6. ^ Gorgeous Gussie holds on to less-than-glamorous life, 1988 interview w Moran by well-known sports reporter Melissa Isaacson, published in 18 June 1988 issue of the Orlando Sentinel
  7. ^ Tinling, Ted (1979). Love and Faults: Personalities Who Have Changed the History of Tennis. Crown. ASIN B000RQF87C.
  8. ^ Tinling, Ted (1984). Tinling. Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 0-283-98963-7.
  9. ^ a b c Isaacson, 1988
  10. ^
  11. ^, located at 1323 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
  12. ^ William Poundstone, Fortune's Formula (2005) p. 107. Hill and Wang. ISBN 978-0-8090-4599-0
  • Isaacson's interview is reprinted in the book A Kind of Grace: A Treasury of Sportswriting by Women, edited by Ron Rapoport

 External links

Gorgeous Gussie was said to have influenced fashion in femminine undergarments. But although she had reached the heights of fame, in later years she went into something of a decline and eventually lost her home when she was unable to pay her taxes. I can't say she had the happiest of lives, but things could have been worse. She could have ended up being married to Pat DiCicco. And so our heroine escaped that particular predicament and went on about her way without him and his brand of mistreatment.
This picture of Gorgeous Gussie has been retouched to make her stand out from the background. I would have said she didn't need it. Gorgeous Gussie's already a standout.

Gorgeous Gussie's Design For A New Outfit.

The caption on the back mentions Dicicco.

Dirty picture of Gorgeous Gussie with Pat DiCicco. I could clean it up a little, but with a guy like that in it, why bother?

The caption on the back.

 A better copy of this one, but it still has DiCicco in it.

Gorgeous Gussie ( Oregon ):
Gorgeous Gussie To Wed Pat DiCicco:
Gorgeous Gussie Wins ( Pathe News Video ):



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