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Jimmy Connors, John Wayne and Backgammon

Posted By: roadkillbooks
Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2013, at 3:13 a.m.

Just a little tidbit out of Jimmy Connors memoir "The Outsider". I thought others might enjoy. ---------------------------------------

"Everyone has his or her insecurities; I had mine and Chrissie had hers. In the often claustrophobic, intense world of tennis, you can feel as though everything revolves around you, and her need to be the center of attention at all times became too much. Believe it or not, there were moments when the spotlight didn't belong to either one of us, and I relished those. Remember how much I loved Westerns as a kid? Well, having a chance to meet and spend time with John Wayne was an opportunity I just couldn't let pass.

Lornie Kuhle is one of my oldest friends, going back to when we were just youngsters playing tournaments in Illinois. When we hooked up again, after I moved to Beverly Hills, Lornie was married to John Wayne's daughter Aissa, and Chrissie and I went to Mr. Wayne's house on a number of occasions.

The Duke enjoyed his tennis, and we'd play at one of his local clubs in Newport Beach. In the evening, after dinner, there was usually some betting action on the backgammon board, and he talked just like he did in the movies. Whenever he took a pip off the board, he would say in that slow drawl, "Let's get that guy on outta here." I loved that! John F---in' Wayne! Are you kidding me? Backgammon with John Wayne! But Chrissie always wanted to go home early, no matter how much fun I was having, and she usually got her way. All the Duke could do was wink at me and say, "Well, good luck, pilgrim."

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