Frank Shields

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Australian film and TV director, see Frank Shields (director).
Frank Shields
Full name Francis Xavier Alexander Shields, Sr.
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1909-11-18)November 18, 1909
New York, USA
Died August 19, 1975(1975-08-19) (aged 65)
New York, USA
Turned pro 1926 (amateur tour)
Retired 1955
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF 1964 (member page)
Highest ranking No. 5 (1930, A. Wallis Myers)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open 4R (1933)
Wimbledon F (1931)
US Open F (1930)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon SF (1931)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1932)

Francis Xavier Alexander ("Frank") Shields, Sr. (November 18, 1909, in New York City – August 19, 1975, in New York City) was an amateur American tennis player of the 1920s and 1930s.

Tennis career[edit]

Between 1928 and 1945 he was ranked eight times in the U.S. Top Ten, reaching No. 1 in 1933, and No. 2 in 1930. He was ranked World No. 5 in 1930 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.[1] Shields defaulted to Sidney Wood in the singles final of Wimbledon in 1931 due to an ankle injury he had sustained in winning his semi-final match against France's "Musketeer" Jean Borotra, and this was the only time in the history of a Grand-Slam event singles final that the event was won by default.

Davis Cup[edit]

He competed for the Davis Cup in 1931, 1932, and 1934, winning 19 of 25 matches. He was left off the team for his erratic playing in 1933.[2] Shields was the non-playing captain in 1951, when the team won four matches.

Shields had his issues both with interactions with other players, and with alcohol.[3][4][5] In the late 1930s, Shields was known for making fun of the US tennis star Bryan Grant, the smallest American to win an international championship, saying "the little shaver" was hiding behind the net. Once a drunk Shields held Grant upside down, outside a hotel window.[6]


His first wife was Rebecca Tenney (1910–2005). They were married in 1932 and divorced in 1940, on the grounds of his "habitual intemperance and cruelty."[7] In 1947, she married lawyer Donald Agnew.

His second wife, whom he married in 1940 and later divorced, was Marina Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi (1916-1960), a daughter of Marino Torlonia, 4th prince of Civitella-Cesi and the American heiress Mary Elsie Moore (1888–1941), and a sister of Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi, the husband of the Spanish Infanta Beatriz de Borbón. Shields had two children by Marina Torlonia: son Francis Xavier Alexander, Jr. (the father of actress-model Brooke Shields), and daughter Cristiana Marina Shields. After their divorce, Marina Shields married Edward Slater.

His third wife, whom he married in 1949, and also later divorced, was Katharine Mortimer (1923-2003), a daughter of financier Stanley Grafton Mortimer, Sr., and the former wife of Oliver Cadwell Biddle. By his third marriage he had three children, Katharine Shields, William Xavier Orin Hunt Shields, and Alston Shields. He also had a stepdaughter, Christine Mortimer Biddle.

Later life[edit]

In his later years he was frequently drunk, at which times he became destructive and bullying with his strength.[citation needed] After two heart attacks and a stroke, he died at 65 of a third heart attack, in a Manhattan taxi.[8] He was the grandfather of Brooke Shields, Morgan Christina Shields, and Holton Joseph Shields.

Acting career[edit]

Shields appeared in the following films:

International Tennis Hall of Fame[edit]

Shields was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1964.

Career highlights[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Big Bill Tilden is Second Only to Henri Cochet", The Montreal Gazette, November 27, 1930.
  2. ^ Jan 1, 1934 (January 1, 1934). "RECOVERY: Man of the Year, 1933". TIME. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ A Terrible Splendor: Three ... Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ From this moment on: America in 1940. September 16, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ Graham, Sheilah (July 24, 1937). "Proquest". Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ A Terrible Splendor: Three ... Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ [ Displaying Abstract ] (March 2, 2011). "Frank Shields Is Divorced". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  8. ^[dead link]

External links[edit]