Thirteen's American Masters documentary series commemorates the 40th anniversaries of the Billie Jean King v. Bobby Riggs “The Battle of the Sexes” match on 20 September 1973, and the founding of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) by King on 20 June of that year.
The profile of Billie Jean King (born 22 November 1943) looks back to the 12-year-old Long Beach, California, girl who played tennis on public courts, observed disparity and, as she soared athletically, never stopped trying to remedy inequality. During her professional tennis career, King won 39 Grand Slam titles, helped form the Virginia Slims Series (pre-cursor to WTA Tour), founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and Women’s Sports magazine, and co-founded World TeamTennis (WTT). Her competitiveness on the circuit was matched by her efforts on behalf of women and the LGBT community.
In the documentary of this determined woman, King presents her own story with perspective from fellow tennis stars that played alongside her or were influenced by her, among them Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Ilana Kloss (King’s partner), Maria Sharapova, Serena and Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and members of the Virginia Slims Circuit “Original 9,” including Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Nancy Richey, and Valerie Ziegenfuss. The film also features new interviews with a diverse cast of characters from King’s unparalleled life: former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, friend and fellow activist Sir Elton John, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Bobby Riggs’ son Larry and “Battle of the Sexes” trainer Lornie Kuhle, King’s brother Randy Moffitt and ex-husband Larry King, and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to President Obama, who chose King as the first female athlete to be awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. King is also a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
PBS Television Website
Detailed schedule information:
8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)