The Racquet Club, Palm Springs 1970s
The Racquet Club on N Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, was founded by actors Charles Farrell and Ralph Bellamy and opened in 1934.
It soon became a gathering place for the Hollywood elite, but its most famous guest was probably a young starlet called Norma Jean Mortenson who went on to become Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
The then-unknown model and actress was first photographed there in 1947 by Bruno Bernard, the godfather of ‘pin-up’ photography. The Racquet Club was also where she met her agent Johnny Hyde, then vice-president of the William Morris agency.
There were only two tennis courts at the start, but the club expanded to include a swimming pool, a “Bamboo Room’ bar, bungalow guest houses and more tennis courts.
It also became a hub for the best tennis stars in the world including Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Rod Laver and Stan Smith.
The 1975 Davis Cup America’s Zone, one of the preliminary rounds of the premier international team event in men’s tennis, was held here.
Farrell later became mayor of Palm Springs from 1947 to 1955 and Oscar-nominated Bellamy was known for acting in screwball comedies such as His Girl Friday and The Awful Truth.
The Racquet Club was destroyed by fire in 2014 and demolished.
Courtesy Eric Lynxwiler.
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