The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary British Snookers of all time. This list of famous British Snookers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of British Snookers.
With an HPI of 55.26, Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 53 different languages on wikipedia.
Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan (born 5 December 1975) is an English professional snooker player who is the current world champion and world number one. Widely recognised as one of the most talented and accomplished players in the sport's history, he has won the World Snooker Championship seven times, a modern-era record he holds jointly with Stephen Hendry. He has won a record seven Masters and a record seven UK Championship titles for a total of 21 Triple Crown titles, the most achieved by any player. He holds the record for the most ranking titles, with 39, and has been world number one on multiple occasions. After an impressive amateur career, O'Sullivan turned professional in 1992, aged 16. He won his first professional ranking event at the 1993 UK Championship aged 17 years and 358 days, making him the youngest player to win a ranking title, a record he still holds. He is also the youngest player to win the Masters, which he first achieved in 1995, aged 19 years and 69 days. Now noted for his longevity in the sport, he has made a record equalling 30 appearances in the final stages of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible. He became the oldest world champion in snooker history when he won his seventh title in 2022, aged 46 years and 148 days. O'Sullivan made his first competitive century break at age 10 and his first competitive maximum break at age 15. In 2019, he became the first and only player to achieve 1,000 century breaks in professional competition, a record he has since extended to over 1,100 centuries. He has made the highest number of officially recognised maximum breaks in professional competition, with 15, and holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest competitive maximum break, compiled in a time of 5 minutes and 8 seconds at the 1997 World Championship. Known as a controversial and outspoken figure on the professional tour, O'Sullivan has struggled during his career with depression, mood swings, and drug and alcohol abuse; he has been disciplined multiple times by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association for his behaviour and comments. Outside his playing career, he works as a pundit and presenter for Eurosport's snooker coverage. He has written crime novels, autobiographies, and a health and fitness book. He features in the 2017 miniseries Ronnie O'Sullivan's American Hustle, which shows him competing against US pool hustlers, as well as the 2022 documentary Seventh Heaven, which documents his career up to his seventh world title. He was awarded an OBE in 2016.
With an HPI of 51.03, Stephen Hendry is the 2nd most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
Stephen Gordon Hendry (born 13 January 1969) is a Scottish professional snooker player who dominated the sport during the 1990s, becoming one of the most successful players in its history. After turning professional in 1985 at age 16, Hendry rose rapidly through the snooker world rankings, reaching number four in the world by the end of his third professional season. He won his first World Snooker Championship in 1990 aged 21 years and 106 days, superseding Alex Higgins as the sport's youngest world champion, a record he still holds. From 1990 to 1999, he won seven world titles, setting a modern-era record that stood outright until Ronnie O'Sullivan equalled it in 2022. Hendry also won the Masters six times and the UK Championship five times for a career total of 18 Triple Crown tournament wins, a total exceeded only by O'Sullivan's 21. His total of 36 ranking titles is second only to O'Sullivan's 39, while his nine seasons as world number one were the most by any player under the annual ranking system used until 2010. Hendry won five consecutive Masters titles between 1989 and 1993 and five consecutive world titles between 1992 and 1996, both records in the modern era. From 1992 until his defeat by Ken Doherty in the 1997 World Championship final, he won 29 consecutive matches at the Crucible, a modern-era record. He also holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in ranking tournaments, having won 36 consecutive matches in ranking events (including five titles) between March 1990 and January 1991. One of three players to have won all the Triple Crown events in a single season, he is the only player to have achieved the feat twice, in the 1989–90 and 1995–96 seasons. He has made 776 career century breaks, including 11 maximum breaks, which puts him behind only O'Sullivan (15) and John Higgins (12) for the most officially recognised 147s in professional competition. Hendry's form became less consistent after his sixth world title in 1996 and his career declined in the 2000s, his play increasingly affected by the yips. He reached the last of his nine world finals at the 2002 World Championship but lost in a deciding frame to Peter Ebdon. He won his last ranking title at the 2005 Malta Cup and reached his last ranking final at the 2006 UK Championship, again losing to Ebdon. In the 2011–12 season, he fell out of the top 16 in the world rankings for the first time in 23 years. Although he qualified for the 2012 World Championship, where he made his 27th consecutive Crucible appearance, he announced his retirement from professional snooker at age 43 after losing to Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals of the event. After almost nine years in retirement, he returned to the professional tour in 2021 under an invitational tour card. Hendry also competes on the World Seniors Tour and regularly features as a commentator and studio pundit for snooker coverage on BBC and ITV. He was awarded an MBE in 1994, and was twice named the BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year, in 1987 and 1996.
With an HPI of 49.52, Alex Higgins is the 3rd most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Alexander Gordon Higgins (18 March 1949 – 24 July 2010) was a Northern Irish professional snooker player who is remembered as one of the most iconic figures in the game. Nicknamed "Hurricane Higgins" because of his fast play, he was World Champion in 1972 and 1982, and runner-up in 1976 and 1980. He became the first qualifier to win the world title in 1972, a feat only two players have achieved since – Terry Griffiths in 1979 and Shaun Murphy in 2005. He won the UK Championship in 1983 and the Masters in 1978 and 1981, making him one of eleven players to have completed snooker's Triple Crown. He was also World Doubles champion with Jimmy White in 1984, and won the World Cup three times with the All-Ireland team. Higgins came to be known as the "People's Champion" because of his popularity, and is often credited with having brought the game of snooker to a wider audience, contributing to its peak in popularity in the 1980s. He had a reputation as an unpredictable and difficult character. He was a heavy smoker, struggled with drinking and gambling, and admitted to using cocaine and marijuana. First diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, Higgins died of multiple causes in his Belfast home on 24 July 2010.
With an HPI of 48.99, Steve Davis is the 4th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Steve Davis (born 22 August 1957) is an English retired professional snooker player who is currently a commentator, musician, DJ, and author. He is best known for dominating professional snooker during the 1980s, when he reached eight World Snooker Championship finals in nine years, won six world titles, and held the world number one ranking for seven consecutive seasons. He was runner-up to Dennis Taylor in one of snooker's most famous matches, the 1985 World Championship final, whose dramatic black-ball conclusion attracted 18.5 million viewers, setting UK records for any broadcast after midnight and any broadcast on BBC Two that stand to this day. In addition to his six world titles, Davis won the UK Championship six times and the Masters three times for a total of 15 Triple Crown titles, placing him third on the all-time list behind Ronnie O'Sullivan (21) and Stephen Hendry (18). During the 1987–88 season, he became the first player to win all three Triple Crown events in a single season, a feat only Hendry and Mark Williams have since emulated. His career total of 28 ranking titles places him fourth on the all-time list behind O'Sullivan (39), Hendry (36), and John Higgins (31). The first player to make an officially recognised maximum break in professional competition, and the first to earn £1 million in career prize money, Davis was named the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in 1988 and remains the only snooker player to win the award. Although he won his last major title at the 1997 Masters, he competed at a high level into his 50s, making his last Crucible appearance in 2010, when he defeated the defending world champion John Higgins to become the oldest world quarter-finalist since 1983. He retired in April 2016 after 38 seasons on the professional tour, but he remains active as a commentator and analyst for the BBC's snooker coverage. As of 2022, he shares his record of 30 Crucible appearances with O'Sullivan. Outside snooker, Davis competed in nine-ball pool tournaments, most notably representing Europe in the Mosconi Cup eleven consecutive times between 1994 and 2004. A keen chess and poker player, he served as president of the British Chess Federation between 1996 and 2001 and has competed in televised poker tournaments. A fan of progressive rock, he has an ongoing career as a radio broadcaster, club DJ, and musician; with Kavus Torabi and Michael J. York, he co-founded the electronic music band the Utopia Strong. He has authored or co-authored books on snooker, chess, cooking, and music, as well as three autobiographies. In 2013, he featured as a contestant on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. He was made a MBE in the 1988 Birthday Honours and an OBE in the 2000 New Year Honours.
With an HPI of 48.51, John Higgins is the 5th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
John Higgins, (born 18 May 1975) is a Scottish professional snooker player. He has won 31 career ranking titles, placing him in third position on the all-time list of ranking event winners, behind Ronnie O'Sullivan (39) and Stephen Hendry (36). Since turning professional in 1992, he has won four World Championships, three UK Championships, and two Masters titles for a total of nine Triple Crown titles, putting him on a par with Mark Selby and behind only O'Sullivan (21), Hendry (18) and Steve Davis (15). A prolific break-builder, he has compiled over 900 century breaks and 12 maximum breaks in professional tournaments, in both cases second only to O'Sullivan (who has compiled over 1,100 centuries and 15 maximums). Higgins has achieved the world number 1 ranking position on four occasions.In 2010, the News of the World tabloid newspaper carried out a sting operation in a hotel room in Ukraine, which claimed to show Higgins and his then-manager arranging to lose specific frames in future matches for money. Although an investigation cleared Higgins of match-fixing allegations, the WPBSA found that he had brought the sport into disrepute by failing to disclose an invitation to breach the sport's betting rules, and giving the impression of agreeing to it. Higgins was banned from professional competition for six months and fined £75,000. He returned to the tour midway through the 2010–11 season. After winning his fourth world title in 2011, Higgins' form has become less consistent, and he has spoken frequently about his struggles with confidence. He has gone for extended periods without ranking wins. He reached three consecutive World Championship finals between 2017 and 2019, but was runner-up each time, losing to Mark Selby in 2017, Mark Williams in 2018, and Judd Trump in 2019. In the 2021–22 season, he lost five major finals, including the 2022 Tour Championship, when he lost 9–10 to Neil Robertson despite having led 9–4.
With an HPI of 45.86, Ray Reardon is the 6th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.
Raymond Reardon (born 8 October 1932) is a Welsh retired professional snooker player. He turned professional in 1967 aged 35 and dominated the sport in the 1970s, winning the World Snooker Championship six times and more than a dozen other tournaments. Reardon was World Champion in 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1978, and runner-up in 1982. He won the inaugural Pot Black tournament in 1969, the 1976 Masters and the 1982 Professional Players Tournament. Reardon was the first player to be ranked "world number one" when world rankings were introduced during the 1976–77 season, a position that he held for the next five years. He regained the top-ranking position in 1982, after which his form declined and he dropped out of the elite top-16 ranked players after the 1986–87 season. He remained one of snooker's top players into his 50s, setting several records. In 1978, Reardon became the oldest world snooker champion, aged 45 years and 203 days, a record that lasted until 2022 when Ronnie O'Sullivan won the title aged 46 years and 148 days. Reardon also became the oldest player to win a ranking event, which he accomplished in 1982, aged 50 years and 14 days. He never achieved a maximum break in tournament play; his highest break in competition was 146. Reardon retired from professional competition in 1991. Reardon mentored O'Sullivan in preparation for his 2004 World Championship campaign, helping him lift his second world title. Before turning professional in 1978, Steve Davis was inspired to emulate certain aspects of Reardon's playing style that he felt would improve his own game. Reardon's dark widow's peak and prominent eye teeth earned him the nickname "Dracula". He is the president of Churston golf club in Devon, where he has been a member for over 40 years. Reardon was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1985.
With an HPI of 45.68, Jimmy White is the 7th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
James Warren White (born 2 May 1962) is an English professional snooker player who has won three seniors World titles. Nicknamed "The Whirlwind" because of his fluid, attacking style of play, White is the 1980 World Amateur Champion, 2009 Six-red World champion, a three-time World Seniors Champion (2010, 2019, 2020), 2019 Seniors 6-Red World Champion and 1984 World Doubles champion with Alex Higgins. White has won two of snooker's three majors: the UK Championship (in 1992) and the Masters (in 1984) and a total of ten ranking events. He is currently tenth on the all-time list of ranking event winners. He reached six World Championship finals but never won the event; the closest he came was in 1994 when he lost in a final-frame decider against Stephen Hendry. He spent 21 seasons ranked in snooker's elite top 16. In team events, he won the Nations Cup and the World Cup with England. He is one of a select number of players to have made over 300 century breaks in professional competition. White was also the first left-handed player, and the second player overall, to record a maximum break at the World Championship.
With an HPI of 45.12, Mark Selby is the 8th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.
Mark Anthony Selby (born 19 June 1983) is an English professional snooker player, who is a four-time World Snooker Champion. Ranked world number one on multiple occasions, he has won a total of 21 ranking titles, placing him eighth on the all-time list of ranking tournament winners. In addition to his four world titles, he has won the Masters three times and the UK Championship twice for a total of nine Triple Crown titles, putting him on a par with John Higgins, and behind only Ronnie O’Sullivan (21), Stephen Hendry (18) and Steve Davis (15). After winning the England Under-15 Championship in 1998, Selby turned professional in 1999, aged 16. He made his Crucible debut in 2005, and reached his first World Championship final in 2007, when he was runner-up to John Higgins. He won his first major title at the 2008 Masters, and his first ranking title at the 2008 Welsh Open. Between 2014 and 2017, he won the World Championship three times in four years. He has been world number one on multiple occasions; he first reached the top of the rankings in September 2011, and held the position for more than four years continuously between February 2015 and March 2019. He has compiled more than 750 century breaks in professional competition, including four maximum breaks. Selby is also a pool player; he was the 2006 World Eight-ball Pool Federation champion, and the runner-up at the Chinese Eight-ball World Championship in 2015, making him the only man to have been world champion in both snooker and pool.
With an HPI of 44.10, Mark Williams is the 9th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Mark James Williams (born 21 March 1975) is a Welsh professional snooker player who is a three-time World Champion, winning in 2000, 2003 and 2018. Often noted for his single-ball long potting ability, Williams has earned the nickname "The Welsh Potting Machine". Williams turned professional in 1992 and has been ranked the world number one player three times (1999–00, 2000–01 and 2002–03). His most successful season to date was 2002–03, when he won the Triple Crown: the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship. In doing so, he became only the third player, after Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, to win all three Triple Crown events in one season. He is the first player (and to date, the only player) to win all three versions of the professional World Championship: the World Snooker Championship, the Six-red World Championship and the World Seniors Championship. The first left-handed player to win the World Championship, Williams has won 24 ranking tournaments, including two UK Championships (1999 and 2002), making him fifth on the all-time list. He has also won the Masters on two occasions (1998 and 2003). His form began to decline after his second World Championship title in 2003; he then dropped out of the top 16 following the 2007–08 season, but he regained his place for 2009–10. Williams has compiled over 580 century breaks in professional competition, including three maximum breaks. He became the oldest player to make a maximum break in professional competition when he compiled a 147 at the 2022 English Open, aged 47 years and 270 days.
With an HPI of 43.61, John Pulman is the 10th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Herbert John Pulman (12 December 1923 – 25 December 1998) was an English professional snooker player who was the World Snooker Champion from 1957 to 1968. He won the title at the 1957 Championship, and retained it across seven challenges from 1964 to 1968, three of them against Fred Davis and two against Rex Williams. When the tournament reverted to a knockout event in 1969 he lost 18–25 in the first round to the eventual champion John Spencer, and he was runner-up to Ray Reardon in 1970. He never reached the final again, although he was a losing semi-finalist in 1977. Having won the English Amateur Championship in 1946, Pulman turned professional, and achieved three News of the World Snooker Tournament titles, in 1954, 1957, and 1958. He became a television commentator towards the end of his playing career, and retired from competitive play in 1981 after breaking his leg in a traffic accident. He died in 1998 after a fall down stairs at his home.
Pantheon has 45 people classified as snookers born between 1923 and 1991. Of these 45, 40 (88.89%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living snookers include Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, and Steve Davis. The most famous deceased snookers include Alex Higgins, John Pulman, and Paul Hunter. As of April 2022, 1 new snookers have been added to Pantheon including Anthony Hamilton.
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Which Snookers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Snookers since 1700.