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Bill Tilden Trials: 1947 & 1949

Out Of The Closet

Gradually, his fabulous stamina began to ebb. Opponents with less skill could wear him out. Tennis fans eventually said he was "still the best player in the world for one set." As his game faded, his homosexuality came to the fore. He began to solicit boys—but never his proteges—he met on tours. At first he kept his sexual activities tightly in the closet. He cut off contact with his nephew and namesake because the younger man learned of his sexual orientation.

But as he got older and his game fell off, Tilden's homosexuality became more overt. Colleagues recognized it. As his reputation grew, clubs began to bar Tilden. Other players shunned him. He moved to California, where he still had friends among the movie elite. Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, and other stars flocked around him.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Bill Tilden Trials: 1947 1949 - An Unlikely Champion, Out Of The Closet, Tilden Arrested