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Billie Jean King

Lynn Gilbert, born 1938
Billie Jean King, born 22 Nov 1943
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 24.5 × 16.4 cm (9 5/8 × 6 7/16")
Mount: 26.1 × 21.4 cm (10 1/4 × 8 7/16")
Mat: 55.9 × 40.6 cm (22 × 16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© 2016, Lynn Gilbert
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Long Beach, California
The winner of thirty-nine Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles titles (including twenty Wimbledon crowns), tennis great Billie Jean King has long championed gender equity both on and off the court. King made her Wimbledon debut in 1961, and by 1966 she was tennis’s top-ranked American player. In 1968—the first year that Wimbledon opened competition to professionals as well as amateurs—King turned professional and captured the All-England singles and doubles titles. Frustrated that professional tennis staged few women’s matches and that the prize money women received was a fraction of that bestowed upon male players, King helped launch the Virginia Slims women’s tennis circuit in 1970. She became a founding member and first president of the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973. That year she struck a blow for women everywhere by trouncing former tennis champion and self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs in the match touted as the “Battle of Sexes.”
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection