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HOLLYWOOD TENNIS DOES SOCKO BIZ
Deborah Haber
March 08, 1971
Those friendly star-studded games they put together on weekends out in filmland are not always what they seem. In any case, the action can be pretty fast, both on and off the courts
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March 08, 1971

Hollywood Tennis Does Socko Biz

Those friendly star-studded games they put together on weekends out in filmland are not always what they seem. In any case, the action can be pretty fast, both on and off the courts

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What is your status-minded Hollywood court-hopper liable to be wearing, and playing with, these days? Most of the ladies pick their tennis outfits from such posh toggeries as Tennis Anyone in Beverly Hills. Grace DeWitts, the owner of Tennis Anyone, says it's not unusual for a woman to come in and spend $600 in half an hour of shopping—on anything from a "see-through" hand-crocheted tennis dress ($70) to a kangaroo-skin racket cover ($15). Traditional tennis whites are by no means de rigueur in Hollywood. "People here often like a touch of color," says Mrs. DeWitts. "A little red trim, green tops—it depends. When you own the court, you can wear any color you like."

Not everyone who plays there considers the Beverly Hills-Hollywood tennis circuit that glamorous. Though Michael Laughlin is welcomed on the best courts, he remains unimpressed. "I think tennis in Los Angeles is a bit chintzy. When you think of the beautiful grass courts of the East, of the elegant Queen's Club in London—the place is fabulous and costs only $7 a month—you can hardly be impressed by the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and its five concrete courts."

Sam Goldwyn Jr. echoes Laughlin's sentiments. "Years ago my parents filled their court with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow...those people just aren't around anymore. And nobody has taken their place."

Finally, there is another set that lives in the area and plays tennis, but is never seen on the courts of the town's beautiful people. This is what one tennis swinger calls "the Junior League crowd," and it holds itself distinctly aloof from the show-biz bunch.

Yet, despite such snubs, despite the paucity of oldtime glamour, despite the apocalyptic visitations—the fires, floods, earthquakes and plunging Dow Joneses—that have vexed Hollywood lately, the game goes on. The ping and plonk of tennis balls hitting concrete and nylon still can be heard from behind the forest-green tarps that shroud the courts along Beverly Drive and Coldwater Canyon. It's just as though nothing had happened. Nothing at all.

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