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Memorial for 'Gorgeous Gussie,' Who Loved Santa Monica, Proposed at City Park

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.

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Paul Rich February 16, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Gussie was a good friend of my mother's. Mom owned a beauty shop on Montana and Gussie was a regular customer. I believe they originally met at Douglas Aircraft during the war. A memorial would be fitting. Which park, I wonder?
Kevin McKeown February 17, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Gussie reportedly used to sit in the bleachers watching players at our municipal tennis courts in Reed Park, so that would be the most likely site.
martin marteen February 17, 2013 at 02:38 AM
That is wonderful, but need more info. She loved Santa Monica and did what for the city?
Patricia Englund February 18, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Gussie was married, but I can't remember to whom or for how long.

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