From his days championing college sports to his stint as a naval officer, tennis ace, ladies' man, and all-American boy Richard Raskind was an archetypical male in every sense. And then in his 40s, after getting married and having a son, Richard became Renée. Renée was still dynamite on the tennis court, but being the first transsexual player in the women's US Open would put her in a spotlight she couldn't escape. As she publicly fought those who said she shouldn't be allowed to play as a woman, Renée alienated her increasingly troubled son—a relationship she struggles to repair to this day.
Director Eric Drath delicately uncovers Renee's history as if he were dusting off the many trophies that grace her shelves. Each memory is revealed as a shining and unique relic. From the internal battle of whether to undergo the invasive sex reassignment procedure to the external battle she faced against the United States Tennis Association, Renée invites the audience into a life lived with strong will, determination, physical endurance—all the attributes of an athlete, male or female.
Produced by ESPN Films, Renée will premiere on ESPN October 4.
ERIC DRATH produced and directed the 2009 feature documentary Assault in the Ring, which won an Emmy and aired on HBO Sports. That film drew on Drath's dual background as a boxing agent and broadcast producer for ABC, CNN, and Fox News. Drath is founder and CEO of Live Star Entertainment, a full-service production company.