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Gussie Moran

tennis player
Full name: Gertrude Augusta Moran
Nickname: Gussie
Alias: Mrs T.J.Corbally
Mrs E.J.Hand
Mrs F.M.Simpson
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Bio Moran entered several amateur tennis tournaments in California in her early career. In March 1949 she defeated Nancy Chaffee in straight sets in the final of the US Indoor Championships singles event, played at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York. She also won the doubles title, partnering Marjorie Gladman, and the mixed doubles event, together with Pancho Gonzales.

Her results made her eligible 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. Her outfit, a short tennis dress with ruffled, lace-trimmed knickers, was short enough for her knickers to be visible during the match, a first for any tournament. In a tennis documentary on ESPN about Wimbledon and the requirement to wear white, long-time tennis analyst Bud Collins remarked about the "naughty" Gussie Moran wearing frilly lace panties at Wimbledon.

Her outfit drew considerable attention; reporters covering the event began calling her "Gorgeous Gussie", and photographers fought for positions where they could get low shots of Moran, with the hope of glimpsing the lace. The event scandalized Wimbledon officials, prompting a debate in Parliament. Moran, who was accused of bringing 'vulgarity and sin into tennis' by the committee of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, later reverted to wearing shorts. Tinling, who had acted as official Wimbledon host for 23 years, was shunned for 33 years following the incident (he was invited back to Wimbledon in 1982).

For a 1988 story and interview which reported on the 1949 Wimbledon incident Moran spoke about the 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."

Following the 1950 Wimbledon tournament, where she was seeded seventh and made it to the quarterfinals, Moran's amateur career ended in September when she began to tour as a professional with Pauline Betz, 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. 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 kit in department stores.

One of the last tournaments Moran competed in professionally was the 1971 U.S. Open, where in the Women's Singles draw, she was eliminated at the first round. In the same tournament she also partnered with Chuck Diaz in Mixed Doubles.
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