Tennis star Gertrude "Gussie" Moran was "a lot more" than pair of knickers and a pretty face—she loved Santa Monica, says City Councilman Kevin McKeown.
Raised in a Victorian home on Ocean Avenue, Moran graduated from Santa Monica High School, and in her younger years during World War II, worked at the Douglas Aircraft Company. It was on the tennis courts that the long-legged beauty who became known as "Gorgeous Gussie" perfected her game, according to Santa Monica Daily Press columnist Jack Neworth.
Neworth wrote an obituary in the local newspaper for Moran after her death Jan. 16, and has proposed a memorial at the city park in her honor, according to McKeown. The council agreed to move forward with it on Tuesday night.
"There are already people willing to donate the money," the councilman said.
Moran's tennis career took off in the late 1940s and though her name is in the books for being a semifinalist at the U.S. Open in singles and a finalist at Wimbledon in doubles—she was famous for her undergarments.
She shocked the tennis world and created a world-wide sensation in 1949 when she wore a short dress revealing a saucy pair of lace knickers underneath.
Hoping for shots of Moran's knickers, photographers lied "on the grass by the side of the court to get the angle they wanted," according to Wimbledon.
In her later years, after being inundated with requests for personal appearances and befriending the rich and famous, life reportedly spiraled downward. She was evicted from the Santa Monica home where she grew up, became reclusive, and at 64, was reportedly working at a souvenir shop at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Though she moved out of Santa Monica, Moran "told stories all her life how wonderful [Santa Monica] was," said McKeown.
Her family's home, at 1323 Ocean Ave., was designated a city landmark in 1987.