The Most Famous

SNOOKERS from United Kingdom

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This page contains a list of the greatest British Snookers. The pantheon dataset contains 67 Snookers, 48 of which were born in United Kingdom. This makes United Kingdom the birth place of the most number of Snookers.

Top 10

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.

Photo of Ronnie O'Sullivan

1. Ronnie O'Sullivan (b. 1975)

With an HPI of 54.61, Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most famous British Snooker.  His biography has been translated into 56 different languages on wikipedia.

Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan (born 5 December 1975) is an English professional snooker player, and current world number one. Widely recognised as one of the most talented and accomplished players in snooker history, he has won the World Snooker Championship seven times, a modern-era record he holds jointly with Stephen Hendry. He has also won a record eight Masters titles and a record eight UK Championship titles for a total of 23 Triple Crown titles, the most achieved by any player. He holds the record for the most ranking titles, with 41, and has held the top ranking position multiple times. After winning amateur titles including the IBSF World Under-21 Snooker Championship, O'Sullivan turned professional in 1992, aged 16. He won his first ranking event at the 1993 UK Championship aged 17 years and 358 days, and remains the youngest player to win a ranking title. He is also the youngest player to win the Masters, having claimed his first title in 1995, aged 19 years and 69 days. Now also noted for his longevity in the sport, he is the oldest winner of all three Triple Crown events, having won his seventh world title in 2022, aged 46 years and 148 days; his eighth UK Championship title in 2023, aged 47 years and 363 days; and his eighth Masters title in 2024, aged 48 years and 40 days. As of 2023, he has made a record 31 appearances in the final stages of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible, surpassing the previous record of 30 appearances set by Steve Davis. O'Sullivan made his first competitive century break at age 10 and his first competitive maximum break at age 15. He is the only player to have achieved 1,000 century breaks in professional competition, a milestone he reached in 2019, and which he has since extended to over 1,200 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. During his career, O'Sullivan has experienced depression, mood swings, and drug and alcohol abuse. Known as a controversial and outspoken figure on the professional tour, he has been disciplined on several occasions by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association for his behaviour and comments. Outside his playing career, he works as a pundit for Eurosport's snooker coverage and 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 pool hustlers in the United States, and in the 2023 documentary film Ronnie O'Sullivan: The Edge of Everything. He was awarded an OBE in 2016.

Photo of Alex Higgins

2. Alex Higgins (1949 - 2010)

With an HPI of 52.21, Alex Higgins is the 2nd most famous British Snooker.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Alexander Gordon Higgins (18 March 1949 – 24 July 2010) was a Northern Irish professional snooker player and a two-time world champion who is remembered as one of the most iconic figures in the sport's history. Nicknamed "Hurricane Higgins" for his rapid play, and known as the "People's Champion" for his popularity and charisma, he is often credited as a key factor in snooker's success as a mainstream televised sport in the 1980s.Higgins turned professional in 1971 and won the World Snooker Championship in 1972, defeating John Spencer 37–31 in the final to become the first qualifier to win the world title, a feat that only two other players—Terry Griffiths in 1979 and Shaun Murphy in 2005—have achieved since. Aged 22, he was then the sport's youngest world champion, a record he held until 21-year-old Stephen Hendry won the title in 1990. He was world championship runner-up to Ray Reardon in 1976 and Cliff Thorburn in 1980. At the 1982 event, Higgins came from 13 to 15 behind to defeat Jimmy White 16–15 in the semi-finals, producing a 69 clearance in the penultimate frame that is regarded as one of the greatest breaks in the sport's history. He defeated Reardon 18–15 in the final, winning his second world title ten years after his first. Images of a tearful Higgins holding his baby daughter after his 1982 victory are regarded as some of the most iconic in the history of British televised sport.Higgins won Masters titles in 1978 and 1981 and won the UK Championship in 1983, where he recovered from 0–7 behind to defeat Steve Davis 16–15 in the final. As of 2023, he is one of 11 players to have completed a career Triple Crown. He won the World Doubles Championship with White in 1984 and played with Dennis Taylor and Eugene Hughes on the all-Ireland team that won the World Cup three consecutive times from 1985 to 1987. He won his last professional title at the 1989 Irish Masters, defeating Hendry 9–8 in the final. Remembered for his turbulent lifestyle, Higgins was a lifelong heavy smoker, struggled with drinking and gambling, and admitted to using cocaine and marijuana. He had tempestuous relationships with women—both his marriages ended in divorce, and he had widely publicised altercations with other girlfriends, one of whom stabbed him three times during a domestic argument. Known as an unpredictable, difficult, and volatile character, he was often disciplined by the sport's governing body, most notably when he was fined £12,000 and banned for five tournaments in 1986 after head-butting an official, and banned again for the entire 1990–91 season after punching another official and threatening to have Taylor shot. Higgins retired from the professional tour in 1997. Diagnosed with throat cancer the following year, he died of multiple causes in his Belfast home on 24 July 2010, aged 61.

Photo of Steve Davis

3. Steve Davis (b. 1957)

With an HPI of 49.97, Steve Davis is the 3rd 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, DJ, electronic musician and author. He is best known for dominating professional snooker during the 1980s, when he reached eight World Snooker Championship finals in nine years, winning 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, which ended in a dramatic black-ball conclusion that attracted 18.5 million viewers, still the largest British television audience for any broadcast after midnight and any broadcast on BBC Two. As well as 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 behind Ronnie O'Sullivan (23 titles) 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 matched by only two other players—Hendry and Mark Williams. He holds the record for the most professional titles overall, with 84 individual wins, or 98 including team and pro–am competition (see tables below). His career total of 28 ranking titles places him fourth behind O'Sullivan (41 titles), Hendry (36) and John Higgins (31). Davis became the first player to make an officially recognised maximum break in professional competition—at the 1982 Classic—and he was also the first to earn £1 million in career prize money. Named the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in 1988, Davis is the only snooker player to have received the award. He won his last major title at the 1997 Masters, aged 39, but continued to compete at a high level and was still a top-16 ranked player at age 50. He made his last Crucible appearance in 2010, aged 52, when he eliminated the defending world champion John Higgins to become the oldest world quarter-finalist since 1983. As of 2023, Davis's 30 Crucible appearances are second only to O'Sullivan's 31. He retired at the end of the 2015–16 season, after 38 seasons on the professional tour, but remains active as a commentator and analyst for the BBC's snooker coverage. Outside snooker, Davis has 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 competed in televised poker tournaments. He is a fan of progressive rock and 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 and co-authored books on snooker, chess, cooking and music, as well as writing three autobiographies. In 2013, he featured as a contestant on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. He was made an MBE in the 1988 Birthday Honours and an OBE in the 2000 New Year Honours.

Photo of John Pulman

4. John Pulman (1923 - 1998)

With an HPI of 49.11, John Pulman is the 4th most famous British Snooker.  His biography has been translated into 21 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 first 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. After finishing as runner-up to Ray Reardon in 1970, Pulman never again reached the final, although he was a losing semi-finalist in 1977. He turned professional in 1946, shortly after winning the English Amateur Championship, and achieved three News of the World Snooker Tournament titles, in 1954, 1957 and 1958. An emotional player, he was prone to venting his frustration and missing important shots. He generally played attacking snooker in his early career, but he made more use of safety tactics in the 1970s. Pulman 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 following a fall down the stairs at his home. He was one of the inaugural inductees to the World Snooker Hall of Fame in 2011, alongside seven other winners of multiple world championships.

Photo of Stephen Hendry

5. Stephen Hendry (b. 1969)

With an HPI of 48.96, Stephen Hendry is the 5th 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 is best known for dominating the sport during the 1990s, when he became 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, surpassing 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 23. His total of 36 ranking titles is second only to O'Sullivan's 41, while his nine seasons as world number one were the most by any player under the annual ranking system used until 2010. Hendry's five consecutive Masters titles between 1989 and 1993 and five consecutive world titles between 1992 and 1996 are both records in the modern era. His 36 consecutive victories in ranking events between March 1990 and January 1991 and his 29 consecutive wins at the Crucible between 1992 and 1997 also remain modern-era records. 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 777 career century breaks include 11 maximum breaks, putting him behind only O'Sullivan (15) and John Higgins (13) for the most officially recognised maximums in professional competition. Awarded an MBE in 1994, he was twice named the BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year, in 1987 and 1996.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, losing 6–10 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. He qualified for the 2012 World Championship, where he made his 27th consecutive Crucible appearance. Although he compiled his 11th career maximum in his first-round match against Stuart Bingham, he announced his retirement from professional snooker at age 43 after losing 2–13 to Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals. After almost nine years in retirement, he returned to the professional tour in 2021 under an invitational tour card. He also competes on the World Seniors Tour and regularly features as a commentator and studio pundit for snooker coverage on BBC and ITV.

Photo of Dennis Taylor

6. Dennis Taylor (b. 1949)

With an HPI of 48.21, Dennis Taylor is the 6th most famous British Snooker.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Dennis Taylor (born 19 January 1949) is a Northern Irish retired professional snooker player and current commentator. In the 1985 World Snooker Championship final, against defending champion Steve Davis, Taylor lost the first eight frames, but recovered to win 18–17 in a duel on the last black ball. The final's conclusion attracted 18.5 million viewers, setting UK viewership records for any post-midnight broadcast and for any broadcast on BBC Two that still stand. Taylor had previously been runner-up at the 1979 World Snooker Championship, where he lost the final 16–24 to Terry Griffiths. His highest world ranking came in 1979–1980, when he was second. He won one other ranking title at the 1984 Grand Prix, where he defeated Cliff Thorburn 10–2 in the final, and also won the invitational 1987 Masters, defeating Alex Higgins 9–8 in the final. He made the highest break of his career at the 1987 Carling Challenge, a 141. Beginning in 1983, Taylor wore glasses designed by Jack Karnehm specifically for playing snooker, which were often described as looking upside-down. Since retiring from the main professional tour in 2000, he has been a regular commentator on BBC snooker broadcasts. He competed on the World Seniors Tour until he announced the end of his competitive playing career in 2021, aged 72. Outside snooker, he appeared on the third series of Strictly Come Dancing, finishing eighth alongside dance partner Izabela Hannah.

Photo of Jimmy White

7. Jimmy White (b. 1962)

With an HPI of 47.69, 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 four seniors World titles. Nicknamed "The Whirlwind" because of his fluid, swift and attacking style of play, White is the 1980 World Amateur Champion, 2009 Six-red World champion, a record four-time World Seniors Champion (2010, 2019, 2020, 2023), 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 eleventh 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.

Photo of John Higgins

8. John Higgins (b. 1975)

With an HPI of 47.13, John Higgins is the 8th 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 ranking titles, placing him in third position on the all-time list of ranking event winners, behind Ronnie O'Sullivan (40) 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; this puts him behind only O'Sullivan (23), Hendry (18) and Steve Davis (15), and level with Mark Selby. A prolific break-builder, Higgins has compiled over 900 century breaks in professional competition, including 13 maximum breaks, second only to O'Sullivan's 15. He is also the oldest player to make a maximum break in professional competition, having set the record at the 2024 Championship League when he was aged 48 years and 268 days. He has reached the world number one ranking position four times. Alongside O'Sullivan and Mark Williams, he is one of the three players known as the "Class of '92", who all turned professional during the 1992–93 snooker season. In 2010, a tabloid newspaper carried out a sting operation in Ukraine, which claimed to show Higgins and his manager arranging to lose specific frames in future matches for money. An investigation cleared Higgins of match-fixing allegations but the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association 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. After winning his fourth world title in 2011, Higgins' form became less consistent. He reached three consecutive World Championship finals between 2017 and 2019, but lost each time, 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 led Neil Robertson 9–4 but lost the match 9–10.

Photo of Ray Reardon

9. Ray Reardon (b. 1932)

With an HPI of 46.86, Ray Reardon is the 9th most famous British Snooker.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Raymond Reardon (born 8 October 1932) is a retired Welsh professional snooker player. He turned professional in 1967 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.

Photo of Mark Selby

10. Mark Selby (b. 1983)

With an HPI of 46.01, Mark Selby is the 10th 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. Ranked world number one on multiple occasions, he has won a total of 22 ranking titles, placing him eighth on the all-time list of ranking tournament winners. He is a four-time World Snooker Champion, and 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 (23), 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 first became world number one in September 2011, and held onto the top ranking position for just over four years between February 2015 and March 2019. He has compiled more than 800 century breaks in professional competition, including five maximum breaks, one of which is the only one to have been made during the final of the World Championships. 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.

People

Pantheon has 52 people classified as British snookers born between 1907 and 1991. Of these 52, 45 (86.54%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living British snookers include Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis, and Stephen Hendry. The most famous deceased British snookers include Alex Higgins, John Pulman, and Fred Davis. As of April 2024, 4 new British snookers have been added to Pantheon including Walter Donaldson, Gary Wilson, and Matthew Selt.

Living British Snookers

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Deceased British Snookers

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Newly Added British Snookers (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Snookers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 7 most globally memorable Snookers since 1700.