Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'Battle of the Sexes' to Include Billie Jean's King's Litigious Lesbian Lover


Tennis films have been historically awful.

Regular readers know I'm strangely immune to the charms of the famed Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, so you can only imagine how not-interested I was in the big-screen version starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell. (Yes, I know it was culturally enormous, but tennis exhibitions always leave me flaccid. Plus there's all that crap about the match being fixed by the mob.


But that was before I saw that Andrea Riseborough had been cast as Marilyn Barnett, BJK's former hairdresser turned lover who outed the tennis legend with an explosive galimony suit in 1981 -- which stated she had been promised a home and financial help "for the rest of her life" -- and that Stone had nailed Billie Jean's voice! 


Jan. 28, 1948-April 12, 1996 

Barnett lived in the Kings' Malibu beach house between 1972 and the time of her lawsuit, which was reportedly sparked by the Kings' attempt to evict her so they could sell it. Barnett became a paraplegic as a result of a fall from the balcony of the house. It had been reported that Barnett's fall was actually a suicide attempt, but King declined to ever comment, other than to say she knew Barnett had been "unstable" for some time. 


Check out the scenes of Billie Jean and Marilyn in bed -- I don't see BJK listed as a consultant, so I wonder how she feels about this delicate subject.


I remember the summer this story broke like it was yesterday. As I wrote in my memoir, it was the first time I understood exactly what "homosexual" meant -- and that I was one.


The Daily News made the "confession" front-page news.


I'll never forget that press conference with her mortified parents looking on.


And how the Kings tried to save their "business" by pretending they were working through the affair and were considering adopting a child. (It didn't work -- BJK lost all her sponsorship deals and Avon dropped the women's circuit.)


Only Abscam tops lesbianism!

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