Born in 1913, Marble grew up in San Francisco; her favorite sport, baseball. Given a tennis racket at age 13, she took to the sport immediately, rising to the top with a powerful, aggressive serve-and-volley style unseen in women’s tennis. A champion at the height of her fame in the late 1930s, she also designed a clothing line in the off-season and sang love songs in the Sert Room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York to rave reviews. World War II derailed her tennis career, but her life off the court was, if anything, even more eventful and impactful. Though shielded in mystery, she was likely recruited as a spy during the war to help recover stolen art. Ever glamorous and connected, she had a part in the 1952 Tracy and Hepburn movie Pat and Mike and played tennis with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard. However, perhaps her greatest legacy lies in her successful efforts, working largely alone, to persuade the all-white U.S. Lawn Tennis Association to change its policy and allow African-American star Althea Gibson to compete for the U.S. championship, thereby breaking tennis’s color barrier.
In sparkling prose, the author of the bestselling In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle recaptures a glittering life story.