by Robert Weintraub
Who was Alice Marble?
In her public life, she was the biggest tennis star of the pre-war era, a household name like Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis. She was famous for overcoming serious illness to win the biggest tournaments, including Wimbledon. She was also a fashion designer and trendsetter, a contributor to a pioneering new comic called Wonder Woman—and friend to the biggest names in Hollywood and society, like Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, and members of families named Bloomingdale, Loew, and du Pont. She helped integrate tennis with her support of Althea Gibson, and even coached two young women who became stars in their own right: Billie Jean King and Sally Ride.
Yet her private life provoked constant speculation while she was alive, and her own memoirs added layers of legend upon stories. According to Alice, she married a man who was killed in the skies over Europe during World War II. But who was the man she loved, and had he even existed? She was widely known for her patriotism during World War II. Had she really nearly given her life for her country as a spy, shot during a wild car chase fleeing foreign espionage agents?
In The Divine Miss Marble, bestselling author Robert Weintraub traveled the country to uncover her fascinating story. And the more he learned about her, the more her mysteries and contradictions deepened. Alice was a powerful woman who knew her worth, demanding equal pay to men decades earlier than other female athletes; yet she was held in sway by a domineering, highly successful coach with whom she had a volatile relationship. She was renowned for her California style, and had a brilliant mind and the guts to overcome a lifetime of physical trauma.
For the first time here, we come closer than ever before to the truths of this unforgettable life, and somehow it’s a story even more extraordinary than everything we already know about the divine Alice Marble.