Frank Shields

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Frank Shields
Frank Shields 1932.jpg
Full name Francis Xavier Alexander Shields, Sr.
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1909-11-18)November 18, 1909
New York City, United States
Died August 19, 1975(1975-08-19) (aged 65)
New York, United States
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)
US Open F (1933)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
US Open F (1930)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1932)

Francis Xavier Alexander "Frank" Shields, Sr. (November 18, 1909 – August 19, 1975) was an amateur American tennis player of the 1920s and 1930s and an actor known for Hoosier Schoolboy (1937).

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]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles (2 runners-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1930 U.S. Championships Grass United States John Doeg 8–10, 6–1, 4–6, 14–16
Runner-up 1931 Wimbledon Grass United States Sidney Wood walkover

Doubles (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1933 U.S. Championships Grass United States Frank Parker United States George Lott
United States Lester Stoefen
13–11, 7–9, 7–9, 3–6

Mixed doubles (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1930 U.S. Championships Grass United States Marjorie Morrill United States Edith Cross
United States Wilmer Allison
4–6, 4–6


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

In 1940, he married his second wife, Marina Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi (1916-1960).[8] Marina was the daughter of Marino Torlonia, 4th prince of Civitella-Cesi (1861–1933) and Mary Elsie Moore (1888–1941), an American heiress. Marina's brother was Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi (1911–1986), the husband of the Spanish Infanta Beatriz de Borbón (1909–2002). Shields had two children with Marina Torlonia:

Shields and Torlonia divorced and in 1950 she married Edward W. Slater.[9]

In 1949, he married Katharine Mortimer (1923-2003), the daughter of financier Stanley Grafton Mortimer, Sr.[10] She had previously been married to Oliver Cadwell Biddle, with whom she had a daughter, Christine Mortimer Biddle, who became a stepdaughter to Shields. Shields had three children with Mortimer:

  • Katharine Shields
  • William "Willy" Xavier Orin Hunt Shields (1949-2016)[11]
  • Alston Shields.

Shields and Mortimer divorced and in 1962 she married Richard Gillespie Blaine.[12]

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.[13] 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. ^ "Frank Shields Is Divorced". The New York Times. June 28, 1940. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Donna Torlonia Wed to Frank X. Shields", The New York Times, 14 July 1940
  9. ^ "Mrs. M. T. Shields Is Wed; Former Marina Torlonia Bride Here of Edward W. Slater", The New York Times, 30 December 1950
  10. ^ Staff (April 6, 1947). "S.G. MORTIMER DIES". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "William X. Shields's Obituary on the Miami Herald". Miami Herald. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "Blaine, Katharine Mortimer". The New York Times. April 17, 2003. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  13. ^[dead link]

External links[edit]