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 64.12, Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 52 different languages on wikipedia.
Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan (born 5 December 1975) is an English professional snooker player who is widely recognised as one of the most talented and accomplished players in the history of the sport. He holds the record for the most ranking titles in professional snooker, with 38. As a six-time world champion, a seven-time Masters champion, and a seven-time UK champion, he has won a record 20 Triple Crown titles, ahead of Stephen Hendry, who won 18. He has been ranked world number one on multiple occasions. After an impressive junior career, O'Sullivan turned professional in 1992, aged 16. He won his first ranking title at the 1993 UK Championship aged 17 years and 358 days, making him the youngest player to win a professional ranking event, 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 competed in a record 29 consecutive World Championships between 1993 and 2021. In 2020, he became the second-oldest player, after Ray Reardon in 1978, to win a world title in snooker's modern era. One of the sport's most prolific break-builders, 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 reach 1,000 career century breaks in professional competition, a record he has since extended to over 1,100 centuries. He has achieved 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. Outside his playing career, O'Sullivan works as a pundit and presenter for Eurosport, has written crime novels, autobiographies, and a health and fitness book, and has starred in the miniseries Ronnie O'Sullivan's American Hustle. He was awarded an OBE in 2016.
With an HPI of 61.83, Stephen Hendry is the 2nd most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
Stephen Gordon Hendry (born 13 January 1969) is a Scottish professional snooker player and a commentator for the BBC and ITV. One of the sport's most accomplished players, he dominated professional snooker during the 1990s, when he won the World Snooker Championship seven times, a record in the modern era, surpassing the six world titles previously achieved by both Ray Reardon and Steve Davis. He is snooker's youngest world champion, having won his first world title in 1990, aged 21.In addition to his seven world titles, Hendry has won six Masters titles and five UK Championship titles for 18 Triple Crown tournament wins, a total surpassed only by Ronnie O'Sullivan's 20. He won five consecutive Masters titles between 1989 and 1993, and five consecutive world titles between 1992 and 1996, both records in the modern era. One of three players to have won all three 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. His 36 ranking titles are second only to O'Sullivan's 38, and his nine seasons as world number one set a record under the annual ranking system used until 2010. A prolific break builder, Hendry has recorded 776 career century breaks. He has made 11 officially recognised maximum breaks in professional competition, surpassed only by O'Sullivan's 15 and John Higgins's 12. Awarded an MBE in 1994, Hendry was voted BBC Scotland's Sports Personality of the Year in 1987 and 1996. In May 2012, after appearing in his 27th consecutive World Championship, he retired from professional snooker, ending his record 23 consecutive seasons in the top 16 of the world rankings. Hendry made his decision in response to a severe loss of form caused by "the yips", a condition that had first affected his game 12 years previously. In September 2020, citing improvements in his play, Hendry announced that he would come out of retirement and accept an invitational tour card for the next two seasons. After an almost nine-year absence from the tour, he returned to professional competition at the Gibraltar Open in March 2021, but as of January 2022 his best result since his return has been reaching the second round of one ranking event. Hendry also competes on the World Seniors Tour.
With an HPI of 61.62, Steve Davis is the 3rd most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.
Steve Davis (born 22 August 1957) is an English retired professional snooker player. He is best known for dominating the sport 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. The first player to make an officially recognised maximum break in professional competition, and the first to earn £1 million in career prize money, he famously was runner-up to Dennis Taylor in one of the sport's most memorable matches, the 1985 World Snooker Championship final. Its dramatic black-ball conclusion attracted 18.5 million viewers, setting UK records for any broadcast after midnight and any broadcast on BBC Two that still stand to this day. Named the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in 1988, he remains the only snooker player to win the award. 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 (20) 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 that 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 (38), Hendry (36), and John Higgins (31). He won his last major title at the 1997 Masters, but competed at a high level into his 50s, making the last of his record 30 Crucible appearances in 2010, when he defeated the defending world champion John Higgins to become the oldest world quarter-finalist since 1983. He retired from professional competition in April 2016, after 38 seasons, but he remains active as a commentator and analyst for the BBC's snooker coverage. Outside snooker, Davis competed in nine-ball pool tournaments, most notably representing Europe in the Mosconi Cup eleven times between 1994 and 2004. He defeated Earl Strickland in 2002 to clinch the cup for Europe, ending six years of American dominance. He also reached the final at an event on the World Pool League, and the last 16 of the 2003 WPA World Nine-ball Championship. 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. 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 59.75, Ray Reardon is the 4th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.
Raymond Reardon, (born 8 October 1932) is a Welsh retired professional snooker player. He turned professional in 1967 at the age of 35 before going on to dominate the sport in the 1970s, winning the World Snooker Championship on six occasions, and more than a dozen other tournaments. He was world champion in 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1978, and runner-up in the 1982 event. He won the inaugural Pot Black tournament in 1969, the 1976 Masters and the 1982 Professional Players Tournament. He was the first number one ranked player when world rankings were introduced in the 1976–77 season, holding the top ranking position for the next five years. He regained the number one ranking in 1982, but his form declined thereafter and he dropped out of the elite top-16 ranked players after the 1986–87 season. He retired from the professional game in 1991. Reardon remained one of snooker's top players into his 50s, setting a number of records. He became snooker's oldest World champion (in 1978, aged 45 years and 203 days), and the oldest player to win a ranking event (in 1982, aged 50 years and 14 days). His highest break in competition was 146. He also worked with Ronnie O'Sullivan in a coaching role, helping him to win the 2004 World Snooker Championship. Reardon's dark widow's peak and sharp-toothed grin earned him the nickname "Dracula".
With an HPI of 58.85, Jimmy White is the 5th 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, 3 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 58.60, John Higgins is the 6th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
John Higgins, (born 18 May 1975) is a Scottish professional snooker player. 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 Ronnie O’Sullivan (20), Stephen Hendry (18) and Steve Davis (15). He has won 31 career ranking titles, putting him in third place on the all-time list behind O'Sullivan (38) and Hendry (36). Known as a prolific break-builder, he has compiled over 800 century breaks in professional tournaments, second only to O'Sullivan. He has also compiled 12 competitive maximum breaks, placing him second behind O'Sullivan (15). He has been ranked world number 1 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, it was found that he had brought the sport into disrepute by failing to report, and giving the impression of agreeing with, an invitation to breach the sport's betting rules. The WPBSA banned Higgins from professional competition for six months and fined him £75,000. He returned to the tour midway through the 2010–11 season. After winning his fourth world title in 2011, Higgins experienced a slump in form, and between 2012 and 2014 only won the 2012 Shanghai Masters. He spoke frequently in this period about his struggles with confidence and consistency. However, in 2015, Higgins returned to winning ways, capturing three ranking titles. He reached three consecutive World Championship finals between 2017 and 2019, but was runner-up each time, losing to Mark Selby in 2017, to Mark Williams in 2018, and to Judd Trump in 2019.
With an HPI of 58.15, Alex Higgins is the 7th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 27 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 56.50, Mark Selby is the 8th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
Mark Selby (born 19 June 1983) is an English professional snooker player who is a four-time and the reigning World Snooker Champion. Ranked world number one on multiple occasions, he has won a total of 20 ranking titles, placing him seventh 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 (20), 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 700 century breaks in professional competition, including three maximum breaks. Selby is also a pool player; he was the 2006 World Eight-ball Pool Federation champion and 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 56.25, Mark Williams is the 9th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 34 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 has been ranked the world number one player for a total of three seasons in his career (1999–00, 2000–01, and 2002–03). His most successful season to date was 2002–03, when he won the acclaimed treble of tournaments (known as 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. In addition, 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 overall, 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 500 century breaks during his career, as well as two maximum breaks in competition.
With an HPI of 56.04, John Pulman is the 10th most famous British Snooker. His biography has been translated into 18 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 Willie Thorne. As of October 2020, 7 new snookers have been added to Pantheon including Willie Thorne, Kyren Wilson, and Michael Holt.
1975 - Present
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1983 - Present
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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.