Marilyn, Billie Jean on Small Screen
A Hollywood icon and a sports superstar will take center stage in some TV movies next season. Oscar winner Holly Hunter (“The Piano”) has been pegged to play tennis champ Billie Jean King in ABC’s “Battle of the Sexes,” having to do with King’s highly volatile 1972 match against Bobby Riggs. Billie Jean won, which at the time was seen as a victory for the then-blossoming women’s movement. Goldie Hawn’s Cherry Alley Prods. will be among the producers of the movie, says Variety, and, so far, no Riggs has been cast. Meanwhile, over at CBS, relative newcomer Poppy Montgomery (briefly seen last season on UPN’s “The Beat”) will play Marilyn Monroe in a mini-series based on Joyce Carol Oates’s current bestseller, “Blonde.” Surrounding her will be a cast made up of Patricia Richardson (as Marilyn’s mom), Ann-Margret (her grandmother), Kirstie Alley (her foster mother), Patrick Dempsey (as a pal) and Griffin Dunne (as an unnamed playwright, though Monroe WAS married to “Death of a Salesman” writer Arthur Miller). “Blonde” is expected to air during either the November or February sweeps.