A League of Their Own was a box-office smash in 1992 and boasted major star power, including Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, and Madonna. But what about some of the more minor actors, like Freddie Simpson, who played shortstop and pitcher Ellen Sue Gotlander? She was a star player in the field, but did she become a star actor?
Read on to learn all about Freddie Simpson, from her early days to what she’s up to now.
Freddie Simpson was born Fredda Marie Simpson in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1963, meaning she celebrates her 60th birthday in 2023.
Before her biggest role in A League of Their Own, Freddie worked as a model and began pursuing acting sometime in the mid-late 1980s.
Before that, Freddie attended the University of Kentucky on a volleyball scholarship and studied physical therapy. This athletic background no doubt made her a strong candidate for her eventual role as baseball player Ellen Sue Gotlander in A League of Their Own.
In 1989, she played Rose O’Shea in the TV movie Thunderboat Row, followed by the role of Tina in the movie Popcorn in 1991. These are her only two credits before her role in A League of Their Own in 1992.
A League of Their Own
It maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna were all hugely popular at the time, but A League of Their Own was a huge hit, pulling in $132 million on a $40 million budget. It featured a host of big actors, including Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz, Lori Petty, and Bill Pullman. Fun fact: the music was by Hans Zimmer, today perhaps best-known for his collaborations with Christopher Nolan (e.g. The Dark Knight and Inception).
The movie takes place during World War II when Major League Baseball lost a lot of its stars due to the war. The Chicago Cubs owner convinces the other owners to fund a women’s league, and one of the teams is the Rockford Peaches. They’re managed by former MLB star Jimmy Dugan, who shows his players a lot of tough love. The Peaches end up playing in the World Series and losing to the Racine Belles in seven games. At the end of the film, we see the reunited players in the present day.
Freddie Simpson’s character, Ellen Sue Gotlander, is one of the minor figures compared to those played by Madonna, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, and Bitty Schram. Nonetheless, she’s in some notable scenes.
One such scene is when a fan decides to make fun of the Peaches by pretending to be a female player and standing atop the dugout. To get back at him, Ellen Sue tosses the ball at him when he’s not looking, leading him to fall over. Another good scene with Ellen Sue is when a woman of color threw a ball a long way to her. This was an important scene because it showed how blacks were segregated from whites at the time, but that didn’t stop this woman of color from showing her strength.
A League of Their Own pops up on TV from time to time and is also available to stream on The Roku Channel, Hulu, Vudu, Apple TV, or Prime Video (though it may need to be rented or purchased from some of these services). You can also purchase a DVD copy.
There was a TV series remake recently (2022) by Amazon Prime, though it hasn’t been as well received as the original, and Freddie Simpson does not make a return (nor does anyone else besides Rosie O’Donnell).
After A League of Their Own
Following A League of Their Own, Freddie Simpson did not receive any acting credits until the TV series Tracey Takes On… in 1996. She also played a mom in the short film Blue in 2002. This was her last credit, and seeing as it has been more than twenty years, it would appear that Freddie has retired from acting.
What Is Freddie Simpson Doing Now?
So, what is Freddie doing now, if not acting? There isn’t a ton of information out there on her, but we’ve gathered what’s available for you down below.
After her acting career, Freddie became interested in yoga and other forms of natural and holistic healing. She studied Ananda, Kundalini, and Hatha yoga and started teaching yoga in 1997. She has also studied an array of healing methods, including Reiki, tai chi, qi gong, movement therapy, sound therapy, and emotional release techniques. Eventually, she attended Yo San University to obtain a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Herbology.
Freddie now goes as Fredda Simpson and puts her education to work as a professional Health Consultant, Coach, and teacher of Yoga and Qi gong. She’s associated with Ten Stones Acupuncture in Charlottesville, Virginia, and specializes in “stress, trauma, depression, and anxiety,” according to their website. Before that, she practiced in California in Venice Beach.
After the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2018, Freddie Simpson offered free services to help the community heal.
In 2016, Freddie also reunited with the cast of A League of Their Own for a game of softball at the Bentonville Film Festival. She joined Geena Davis, Tracy Reiner, Anne Ramsay, Megan Cavanaugh and and Patti Pelton for the event.
Not much is available about Freddie Simpson’s personal life. Based on her Instagram, she would appear to be a big cat and dog lover and also has one daughter, Kaili.
According to a GoFundMe created in 2017, Freddie was injured in a fire that burned down her house and left her with a spinal injury.