Heldman, Gladys M(edalie) 1922-2003

views updated

HELDMAN, Gladys M(edalie) 1922-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born May 13, 1922, in New York, NY; died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound June 22, 2003, in Santa Fe, NM. Editor, sports promoter, and author. Heldman is generally credited with helping to make women's tennis a popular professional sport. After graduating fromStanford University and marrying a tennis player, she began her serious involvement in tennis as an amateur player during the late 1940s and early 1950s. She competed at Wimbledon and at four U.S. National Championships and was once ranked the number-one player in Texas. In 1953, about a year before she retired from playing, she founded World Tennis magazine and was its publisher and editor until she sold it to CBS Publications in 1972. With the help of a private investor, in 1970 she transformed the women's tournament at the Houston Racquet Club into the Virginia Slims Tour; her untiring promotional efforts eventually helped the tour evolve into the Women's Tennis Association Tour, which provided a national venue for stars such as Billie Jean King. For her important contributions to women's tennis, Heldman was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979. She was also the coauthor of Pancho Segura's Championship Strategy: How to Play Winning Tennis (1976), and a mystery novel called The Harmonetics Investigation (1979).



Sherrow, Victoria, Encyclopedia of Women and Sports, ABC-Clio (Santa Barbara, CA), 1996.

Women in World History, Yorkin Publications (Waterford, CT), 1999.


Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2003, p. B15.

New York Times, June 25, 2003, p. A25.