View Full Version : Master of perfection Eddie Charlton dead at 75

11-08-2004, 06:57 AM
Master of perfection
By John Huxley
November 9, 2004

Of all the many millions of snooker shots played by Eddie Charlton during a career spanning almost 70 years, the most spectacular was probably that performed for a small television audience at Tattersalls Club in Sydney, one winter's evening in 1980.

In a nervous silence, Charlton aimed a white cue ball at a coloured ball that was resting on a piece of chalk held between the lips of a woman lying flat on the green baize table.

Such was the accuracy and velocity of his shot that the coloured ball popped out and trickled into a bottom corner pocket, while the cue ball rolled down the woman's cheek and came to rest between her shoulder and the top cushion.

How many times Charlton practised that trick shot is not recorded, but it would have been unimaginable for ordinary "hit and hope", club players.

For "Steady" Eddie Charlton - who died yesterday, aged 75, in New Zealand where he had been fulfilling a number of speaking and playing engagements - believed that practice made perfect. And, as friend and fellow professional, Joe Minici, recalls, he was the ultimate perfectionist.

"Throughout his career, he was totally dedicated, totally self-disciplined - even during practice, he did not like people talking," said Minici, the current snooker professional at Tattersalls and Australia's fourth-ranked player.

Indeed, it is not for his flash shots and flamboyance but for his phlegmatic, seemingly nerveless style that Charlton - a three-time runner-up in the world championship and three-time winner of the Pot Black title in Britain - will be best remembered.

"Every time I look at a ball, it's in the pocket," he once said, before cheerfully explaining that his super-confidence was something of a facade. "People say I have nerves of steel. It makes me laugh. I get as nervous as a cat."

Charlton embraced the game during childhood, playing at his grandfather's pool hall in Swansea from the age of eight and was soon taking on all comers.

Despite his early start, he was a late entrant into the professional ranks of the game. Indeed, he worked for more than 20 years in the local mines, fixing burst pipes and faulty pumps, before breaking on to the world scene at the age of 37.

Ian Anderson, president of the World Pool-Billiard Association, said last night, "Eddie was still actively playing the game he had loved for so long right to the end." Though his international career was over, he continued to compete in the Tattersalls Club snooker handicap.

Charlton won the competition in 1988, was runner up in 1998 and, Minici explained, only three years ago compiled a break of 139, including 14 blacks and 14 reds (the maximum, perfect score is 147).

"To do that at any age is great," says Minici. "But to do that at 72 it just remarkable."

Charlton is survived by five children and eight grandchildren.


Steady now ... Charlton lines up that shot at Tattersalls in Sydney in 1980.


11-08-2004, 05:50 PM
Mr Snooker put game in frame
Ray Gatt

FOR all of Eddie Charlton's successes on tables around the world, the Australian sporting gentleman will be best remembered for helping to upgrade the sport's image from being played in smoke-filled halls by seedy characters.

Charlton, who died yesterday in New Zealand after falling ill on a promotional tour, left a remarkable legacy. He was 75. Most notable was his remarkable influence in turning snooker into a popular sport in the 1970s and '80s.

According to Mike Peachey, president of the Australian Snooker Council, Charlton had been ill for several years, but it did not prevent him from continuing to travel around Australia and the world promoting the sport and playing exhibitions.

"He was to snooker what Don Bradman was to cricket and Johnny Warren was to soccer," Peachey said yesterday.

"He was one of the greats of the game and was revered around the world.

"Eddie will always be remembered as Mr Snooker. He did so much for the sport, especially in Australia.

"If you asked any Australian on the street to name a snooker player they would invariably name Eddie Charlton."

Just as Charlton advanced the sport, so has it receded since his retirement from competition. Few today could name Australia's current highest-ranked player, Quinten Hann, whose unsporting behaviour and hot-headed nature are in stark contrast with Charlton's gentlemanly character.

Though he was always a high-profile player, Charlton became a household name through his feats in the popular English television series Pot Black. Nicknamed 'Fast Eddie', he won the tournament three times and was a much-loved competitor because of his graceful manner, easy-going nature and humour.

Of his Pot Black days, Charlton said in an interview earlier this year: "It had a big influence, particularly on young people. I started to notice schoolboys and girls playing in different places."

Charlton was virtually unbeatable at home and won the Australian professional championship for almost 20 years.

He had a huge reputation overseas as well, winning the World Matchplay title, though, sadly, the much-sought after World Championship eluded him. Charlton was beaten three times in the final of the World titles -- twice by Ray Reardon (1973, 1975) and once by John Pullman (1968). He was widely regarded as the best player never to win the title.

Charlton, who was born in the Hunter Valley, was not only a renowned snooker player but a naturally gifted sportsman. He played soccer, could box -- he once went a few rounds with national and Empire champion Dave Sands -- and was an accomplished surf lifesaver.

He worked in the mines before becoming a snooker professional. He first learned the game by playing in his grandfather's billiard saloon at Swansea when he was eight.

#### leonard
11-10-2004, 06:23 AM
I had the pleasure of watching Eddie Charlton playing in the Worlds Tournament in NYC at the Commodore Hotel in the early 60s. He along with Rex Williams were invited were invited to play to give the Worlds Title a truer meaning.

They both played very well for having very little 14.1 experience.

I guess the Babe will have someone to play with.####

11-10-2004, 07:00 AM

/ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif I REALLY want to read the BOOK! (at the risk of being redundant and hopeing that I don't piss you off)