Bobby Riggs Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Joan Agie
Feb 20, 2024 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on May 13, 2022
Bobby Riggs has left quite a mark on the world of professional tennis.
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Read time: 7.3 Min

About Bobby Riggs

Bobby Riggs was a famous American tennis player.
He was born in the city of Los Angeles, California on February 25, 1918. The tennis player died in Leucadia, Encinitas on October 25, 1995.
He ranked in the World at No. 1 in both amateur and professional tennis. However, he became famous for challenging Billie Jean King to a match that was named the 'Battle Of The Sexes' and became the most-watched tennis match in history.
As an amateur player at the age of only 21 years in 1939, he won the Mixed Doubles, the Men's Doubles, and the Singles titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, which was then known as the U.S. National Championships, and was the French Championships runner-up. As a professional, he won the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships thrice. His most famous match, the 'Battle Of The Sexes', came after he retired from his professional career.

Bobby Riggs Net Worth, Earnings, & Spending Habits

What was Bobby Riggs' net worth?

Bobby Riggs accumulated his wealth from playing tennis as an amateur and a professional tennis player. He won the U.S. Professional Championship thrice in the 1940s, the United States Championship twice at Forest Hills, and one Wimbledon Championship.
After retiring, he got into gambling, and he wrote in his autobiography that he made $105,000. It is estimated that his total net worth at the time of his death was about $5 million.

How much did Bobby Riggs earn per year?

Tennis players now make great money, and in the past, they used to earn income from professionally playing in several competitions worldwide. Now, the prize money that a player wins is usually in the millions.
However, in the 1940s and 1950s, the largest prize money from a tournament was the 1958 Kooyong Tournament of Champions, which was about $24,000. The annual salary of Bobby Riggs was probably somewhere around that amount, but the exact amount is unknown.

Height, Age, & Physical Attributes

How tall was Bobby Riggs?

Bobby Riggs was 5 ft 5 in (1.7 m) tall.

How old was Bobby Riggs?

At the time of his death, the legendary Bobby Riggs was 77 years old.

Childhood And Education

Bobby Riggs was born in Los Angeles, California on February 25, 1918. His mother was Agnes Jones, his father was Gideon Wright Riggs, and he had six other siblings. From a very young age, he had a passion for both betting and tennis, and he was very confident in himself, so he would always bet on his abilities. It was an older brother of his that introduced him to tennis.
One day, when he accompanied his brother, who was an anatomy instructor at the University of Southern California at that time, Professor Esther Bartosh noticed him and decided to teach him about tennis. Riggs started taking tennis lessons from the professor at the age of 12 years and was learning basic strokes and grips.
After only a few months of training, Riggs entered various tournaments, and in the 13-and-under division, he achieved a winning streak of two years. Bobby Riggs went to Franklin High School, and there he stayed undefeated for four straight years. He also became the very first tennis player to have won the Singles trophy for California's state high school thrice.
When he turned 17 years of age, he won the National Junior Doubles and Singles Championships. He next went to compete in larger East Coast grass tournaments despite the suggestions of the Southern California Tennis Association, as they requested him to defend his junior title by staying.
The playing style of Bobby Riggs included a good amount of drop shots and spins, which worked in his favor on the grass court, and he won his first-ever grass-court tournament. He laid out a plan for his next five years - racing to the top ten by 1936, then moving up higher by 1937, making the team for the Davis Cup by 1938, and finally, achieving the title of National Amateur Champion by 1939. The talented player worked his best and accomplished all of his goals.

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who was Bobby Riggs' partner?

Bobby Riggs was married two times. At a young age, he met another tennis player, Catherine 'Kay' Fischer, at the Illinois State tournament. The two married in December 1939, but they got divorced during the early 1950s. His second marriage was to Priscilla Wheelan. The two met in Miami at the LaGorce Country Club courts. Her family were the owners of New York's America Photograph Corporation. Riggs and Wheelan married in September 1952. They divorced in 1971 but remarried in 1991. Riggs had seven children from his two marriages - William Riggs, John Riggs, Robert Riggs Jr., Lawrence Riggs, Dorothy Riggs, Jimmy Riggs, and Larry Riggs.

Career And Professional Highlights

Bobby Riggs was born in Los Angeles, California on February 25, 1918. He began learning tennis at the young age of 12 years, and he was undefeated for the four years he played for his high school. After graduating, he started playing as an amateur player. He was a part of the U.S. team for the Davis Cup in 1938, and he helped them win. The next year, he won his first-ever U.S. Championship, also known as the U.S. Open, the Mixed Doubles, Men's Doubles, and Singles at Wimbledon. He started playing professionally in 1941. He won the U.S. Doubles titles in 1942 and 1947 with Don Budge and won the U.S. Singles titles in 1946, 1947, and 1949. He quit his professional career in 1951 but kept on playing in several senior events.
He was very much into gambling, and he would always bet on himself. He bet on himself in 1939 that he would win all three championships at Wimbledon - Mixed Doubles, Doubles, and Singles. According to his autobiography, he won $105,000 from that bet, as he did win all three Wimbledon titles. After retiring, he challenged female players, implying that their game was inferior and that they could not defeat him. He did win the challenge against Margaret Court but later lost against Billie Jean King. His match against Billie Jean King was what made him most famous.

Best Known For…

During his career, Bobby Riggs ranked No. 1 in both amateur and professional tennis. However, the player is more famous for challenging Billie Jean King and losing the match against her. To draw more publicity and attention to the sports of tennis and to make some money, Bobby Riggs came out of retirement and challenged one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. He called himself a 'chauvinist' and claimed that the women's tennis game was much inferior to the male's tennis game. He further implied that a female could not beat him, even though he was 55 years old.
He first challenged one of the top players back then, the 30-year-old Margaret Court. They played the match on Mother's Day of 1973 on May 13 in Ramona, California. Bobby Riggs won the match quite easily, and the match was called the 'Mother's Day Massacre'. His first choice was to challenge was Billie Jean King, but she declined him at first.
However, when Margaret Court lost the match against him, King accepted his challenge. The match between King and Riggs happened in the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973. The match was named the 'Battle Of The Sexes'. Most people favored Riggs, and he even got an early lead during the match, but King put him in his place with three straight sets and won the $100,000 prize money. The match has been declared the most ever watched tennis match with more than 90 million people watching on television and 30,472 spectators on the ground.

Charity Work

In the last few years of his life, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 1994, he then founded the Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum Foundation to spread awareness about cancer.

What awards did Bobby Riggs win?

Bobby Riggs won the Wimbledon Singles title, Wimbledon Doubles and Mixed doubles titles, and U.S. Championships in 1939. He won the U.S. singles in 1946, 1947, and 1949 and won the U.S. doubles in 1942 and 1947. In 1967, he was included in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Bobby Riggs' Hobbies and Interests

Bobby Riggs was extremely passionate about tennis and gambling. Other than that, nothing is known about his hobbies and interests.

Other Interesting Bobby Riggs Facts And Trivia

  • In his last few years, Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King had a friendly relationship.
  • King even asked Riggs if she could visit him when he was sick; Riggs didn't accept as he didn't want King to see him in such a condition.
  • As Billie Jean King said in an HBO documentary, in a final phone call with Riggs, the last words she told Riggs were 'I love you'. Bobby Riggs died in Leucadia, Encinitas on October 25, 1995.
  • There was even a movie released in 2017 based on the match, the 'Battle Of The Sexes' between the two players.

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Bobby Riggs Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Robert Riggs

Date of Birth

1918-02-25

Date of Death

1995-10-25

Nationality

American

Place of Birth

Los Angeles

Height

170 cm

Eye Color

Blueish-Gray

Child Star?

No

Occupation

Tennis player

Education

Franklin High School

Net Worth

5000000

Partner

Priscilla Wheelan

Parents

Agnes Jones, Gideon Wright Riggs
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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

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Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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