Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Last night Stephen Colbert did a nice interview of Billie Jean King to promote her biography on American Masters. Stephen is about the same age as me and referred to many of the same memories I had, including being so young that there was no choice but to root for Bobbie Riggs (I mean, at that age, boys have no use for girls at all, what with the cooties and everything) and not being allowed to watch their match because it was past our bedtime. 

A lot of those memories were rekindled in a very good TV movie about the film in 2001, When Billie Beat Bobbi.

Tonight PBS aired the 90-minute episode, which was quite good, which can also be viewed online here.  Billie is a fascinating character not only because of what she did for sports, for tennis and for women's rights, but what she did for gay rights as well (even though she was forced out of the closet). She had nothing but challenges throughout her life, and she showed a lot of courage by choosing to come out publicly when she did. The story is very well covered in this film, although some of the recreations are a little hokey, especially as they are intercut with real footage as though they were part of a real sequence. 

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