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Billie Jean King

series: American Masters

air date: 9/13/13 1:00 AM

The first sports figure ever featured by AMERICAN MASTERS, this was a very deliberate choice about a very deliberate woman who has, indeed, been a major force in changing, and democratizing, our cultural landscape. To commemorate the 40th anniversaries of both the infamous Billie Jean King / Bobby Riggs tennis match -- the Battle of the Sexes -- and the launch of the Women's Tennis Association, this film looks back to the 12-year old southern California girl who played tennis on public courts, observed disparity and unfairness and, as she soared athletically, never stopped trying to remedy the situation. Her competitiveness on the circuit was matched by her egalitarian efforts on behalf of women and her commitment to prove consistently that in diversity there is strength --ultimately being awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama. King presents her own story with perspective added by Rosie Casals, Chris Evert, Venus Williams, Gloria Steinem, Elton John and Bobby Riggs' son.

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