Larry King (tennis)

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Larry King
Born (1945-01-30) January 30, 1945 (age 74)
ResidenceGrass Valley, California, U.S.
Known forFounder of World Team Tennis
Billie Jean King
(m. 1965; div. 1987)

Nancy King

Larry King (born January 30, 1945) is an American attorney, real estate broker, promoter, bridge player, one of the founders of World Team Tennis, and the ex-husband of former World No. 1 professional tennis player Billie Jean King.

Early life[edit]

King was born in Dayton, Ohio and raised in Eagle Rock, California.

Personal life[edit]

He met Billie Jean Moffitt at California State University, Los Angeles in 1963, when he played on one of the school’s best men's tennis teams, coached by Scotty Deeds. He married Billie Jean on September 17, 1965 in Long Beach, California.[1] In 1971, Larry King conceived the idea of a professional tennis tour for women and helped organize a group of nine (the Original Nine) top women players: Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz. Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, and Valerie Ziegenfuss. He obtained the backing of Gladys Heldman of World Tennis Magazine and Joe Cullman, CEO of Philip Morris, and the Virginia Slims pro circuit was started. In 1973, along with Dennis Murphy, Jordan Kaiser and Fred Barman, King developed the concept of World Team Tennis, and started the league the following year.[2] Also in 1971, Billie had an abortion that was made public in a Ms. magazine article.[3] Larry had revealed Billie Jean's abortion without consulting her.[3] In 1976, King invented a smokeless ashtray, called The Clean Air King. Billie Jean became the major owner of World Team Tennis in 1984. Larry and Billie Jean King divorced in 1987.

When Larry and Billie Jean lived in San Mateo, California, they became good friends with Charles Schulz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts, and with his wife, Jean. They played tennis in Schulz's Indoor Hockey Arena in Santa Rosa, California with many other professional tennis players.

King and Denis Murphy also founded Roller Hockey International, a professional hockey league that operated from 1993 to 1999.[4] Murphy had also been instrumental in the founding of the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association.

King is a Master duplicate bridge player and Director. He founded Bridge University to promote bridge throughout the country. He is a past President of the Grass Valley, CA Bridge Club.

King lives in Grass Valley, California, with his wife, Nancy, and two children, Sky and Katie. According to the movie Battle of the Sexes, Billie Jean King and her partner Ilana Kloss are godparents to the Kings' children.


  1. ^ "Billie Jean King of Her Family", Long Beach Press-Telegram, November 23, 1965, page C-4
  2. ^ Collins, Bud "A Look at the History of World Team Tennis", World Tennis magazine, July 24, 2010, accessed June 24, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Stanley, Alessandra (April 26, 2006). "The Legacy of Billie Jean King, an Athlete Who Demanded Equal Play". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  4. ^ Robb, Sharon "It Looks Like Hockey — but On Wheels", South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., June 5, 1993, accessed June 24, 2011.