Fred Perry Biography

Fred Perry, a legendary British tennis and table tennis player, is widely recognized for his remarkable achievements in the world of sports. With victories in the Table Tennis World Championship and three consecutive Wimbledon Championships, Perry’s talent and skill were unparalleled. He holds the distinction of being the only player in his era to win eight Grand Slams, ten Majors, and two Pro Slams. Perry made history by completing his ‘Career Grand Slam’ at the young age of twenty-six, a feat that had never been accomplished before. His exceptional abilities and accomplishments earned him a place among the ‘Top 100 legendary sports icons’. Beyond his sporting success, Perry’s legacy lives on through his iconic sportswear line, ‘Fred Perry Sportswear’, which remains a popular choice among fashionable sports enthusiasts. From humble beginnings as a working-class individual in Britain, Perry rose to become one of the most successful sportsmen in the world, reaching the number one position. His inspiring journey continues to motivate aspiring sportsmen in the realms of tennis and table tennis. To delve deeper into his personal life and professional triumphs, read on and explore this captivating biography.

Quick Facts

  • British Celebrities Born In May
  • Also Known As: Frederick John Perry
  • Died At Age: 85
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Barbara Riese (m. 1952–1995), Helen Vinson (m. 1935–1940), Lorraine Walsh (m. 1945), Sandra Breaux (m. 1941)
    • Father: Samuel Perry
    • Children: David Perry, Penny Perry
  • Born Country: England
  • Quotes By Fred Perry
  • Tennis Players
  • Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), 6’0″ Males
  • Died on: February 2, 1995
  • Place of death: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Cause of Death: Accidental Fall
  • City: Stockport, England

Childhood & Early Life

Fred Perry was born in Cheshire but lived in Wallasey, England, where his father Samuel Perry, a cotton spinner, was involved in local politics. It was here, he attended the Liscard Primary School. He also lived in Bolton for a brief period of time because his father’s involvement in local politics required the family to move from place to place. At the age of nine, he moved to Ealing, West London after his father became the National Secretary of the Co-operative Party post World War I and was educated at the Ealing Grammar School for Boys. He initially began playing lawn tennis in the courts of his family’s public estate.


Perry’s career kick started when from 1928 to 1929, he won medals in the single, double and team events at the ‘World Table Tennis Championship’. He was the frontrunner of the Great Britain team in the Davis Cup and led his team to four consecutive victories from 1933 to 1936. Between 1934 and 1936, he won three consecutive Wimbledon men’s titles. He also won three U.S. Open (1933, 1934, 1936), French Open (1935) and Australian Open (1934). In 1936, he won 29 out of 61 matches during the United States, ‘Big Tour’, following which he travelled to England and concluded the tour with a victory. In 1938, the ‘Big Tour’ was even more grandiose and this time, Perry played against Ellsworth Vines, where Vines beat Perry, 49 to 35.

Awards & Achievements

He was the winner of the World Table tennis Championship in 1929. He won three continuous Wimbledon championships from 1934 to 1936 and was also conferred the title of ‘World Number 1’. In 1938 and 1941, he was awarded the prestigious ‘US Pro’ title. In 1975, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, in Newport, Rhode Island.

Personal Life & Legacy

In the early 1930’s, he was one of the most sought after bachelors and his off-the–court romances were often sensationalised by the press. He dated many actresses and models of that time. Fred Perry was romantically involved with actresses Marlene Dietrich and Marry Lawson. He married four times, with his earlier three marriages ending in divorce. He married his fourth wife, Barbara Riese in 1952 and the couple had two children, Penny and David. He launched his clothing label, ‘The Fred Perry tennis shirt’ at the 1952 Wimbledon, which became an instant favourite among teenagers in the early 60s and 70s. The clothing line exists to date. In 1979, his autobiography titled ‘Fred Perry- An Autobiography’ was published. In this book, Jack Kramer, long-time tennis player and promoter referred to him as ‘One of the six greatest players of all time’. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his first singles championship, a bronze statue of Fred Perry was unveiled at the ‘All England Lawn Tennis Club’, in 1984. He fell in the bathroom in a hotel, broke his ribs and subsequently died at a hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He was named one of the ‘ten greatest players of all time’ in the 1997 documentary, ‘Kings of Court’, made in collaboration with the International Tennis Hall of Fame.


This successful British tennis player often inflicted ‘psychological warfare’ on his opponents. This World Tennis Champion painted his racket white in order to distract his opponents. This famous Tennis Champion was one of the first players to sport a sweatband while playing on court. He also collaborated with an Australian footballer to invent the first anti-perspirant sweatband. He is the only player in the history to have won at least one Major tournament in both tennis and table tennis. He was the only British player to win the Men’s Singles Grand Slam until Andy Murray won the US open in 2012.

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