ITHF Mourns the Passing of Pauline Betz Addie

June 2, 2011

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Board of Directors and Staff of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum mourns the loss Class of 1965 Hall of Famer Pauline Betz Addie of the Washington, D.C. area, one of sport’s greatest champions and the top female player in the United States in the 1940s. Addie, who had Parkinson’s disease, passed away on May 31 in an assisted-living facility in Potomac, Md. She was 91 years old.

“As her colleague and friend, I am saddened to hear of Pauline’s death, and I extend my sympathies to her five children, extended family and friends, as well as sincere condolences on behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum,” said Tony Trabert, president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and 1970 Hall of Famer. “She was unstoppable on the tennis court, truly a legend of the game. Off-court, her sense of humor and kindness set her apart from the crowd. She has contributed greatly to the sport of tennis and to her community, and she will be missed.”

The late tennis legend Jack Kramer called her the second-best female player he ever saw, second only to Helen Wills Moody. He wrote in his biography that he “can’t believe any woman who ever lived could keep up with Pauline Betz.”

Addie burst onto the national tennis scene in the late 1930s, quickly making a name for herself by advancing to the final round of the U.S. National Championship (now the US Open) every year from 1941 – 1946, winning the title four times. In 1946, she won the Wimbledon singles title, without losing a set in the entire tournament. She was ranked within the U.S. Top Ten for seven years, achieving the No. 1 ranking in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1946.

Her career was cut short at the height of her success when, in 1947, she was declared a professional for merely exploring the possibilities of making a professional tour. Based on her intent, she was barred from future major competitions, which only permitted amateurs to enter prior to 1968. As a result, she embarked on a professional career touring the country with fellow female professional Gussie Moran and top male stars including Jack Kramer and Bobby Riggs. She won seven women’s professional championships.

Addie was a teaching professional in the Washington, D.C. area for many years, and was an active player into her 80s. The Cabin John Indoor Tennis Center in Bethesda, Md., where she was a teaching professional for 20 years, was renamed The Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center in 2008.

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, but raised in Los Angeles, Addie was introduced to the sport as a child by her mother, who was a physical education teacher.

Addie was the widow of Bob Addie, a sportswriter for the former Washington Times-Herald, which later became known as The Washington Post. She is survived by their children, Rusty Addie of Bethesda, Md., John Addie of Avon Park, Fla., Kim Addonizio of Oakland, Calif., Gary Addie of Washington, D.C. and Rick Addie of Aldie, Va.; a brother; five grandchildren; and a great-grandson.