Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Is your surname Zaharias?

Research the Zaharias family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Mildred Ella Zaharias (Didrikson)

Also Known As: "Babe"
Birthplace: Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas, United States
Death: September 27, 1956 (45)
Galveston, Galveston County, Texas, United States (cancer)
Place of Burial: Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Ole Nikolai Didriksen and Hannah Marie Didriksen
Wife of George Zaharias
Sister of Nancy Eleonore Didrikson; Arthur Storm Didrikson; Dora Didrikson; Ole Didrikson; Lillie Didrikson and 3 others

Occupation: World-renowned multi-sport athlete
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias was an American athlete of norwegian origin who achieved outstanding success in golf, basketball, and track and field. She was named the 10th Greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN, and the 9th Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by the Associated Press.

Didrikson gained world fame in track and field and All-American status in basketball. She played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater and bowler. She won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.


Babe Didrikson, the female athletic phenomenon of the century, was the child of Norwegian immigrants. Reared in poverty in South Texas, she began her extraordinarily versatile athletic career in high school basketball. She soon found that few sports opportunities were open to women. In fact, in the 1920s the trend was toward the elimination of interscholastic competition for girls, because of its "undue stress" and "morbid social influences." In many high schools all but intramural sports disappeared, and not until the 1970s would girls' high school competition be restored.

After Babe switched to track and field and collected gold medals at the 1932 Olympics, her fame enabled her to barnstorm the country with a team called "Babe Didrikson's All Americans." She excelled at every sport she tried, but she combined her natural talent with hard work. When she first took up golf she hit over a thousand balls a day, eight to ten hours a day. Drives of two hundred and fifty yards were not unusual for her. She began to win the major ladies' golf tournaments but was quickly ruled a pro and disqualified. There was then no pro golf tour for women. Only after 1938, when she met and married George Zaharias, a professional wrestler, could she afford to refuse endorsements and reestablish amateur status. Babe went on to sweep the major ladies' titles. In 1949 she became one of the founding members of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association. A fierce competitor with a free-wheeling style, she closed her career with a courageous, losing battle against cancer.


view all

Babe Didrikson Zaharias's Timeline

June 26, 1911
Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas, United States
September 27, 1956
Age 45
Galveston, Galveston County, Texas, United States
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas, United States