Rudolf Walter Wanderone was an American professional billiard player who born on January 19, 1913, in New York City. He started playing pool at a very young age, and in 1923, he moved to Europe along his father to get training of billiards from Erich Hagenlocher (a German carom billiards champion). After three years of intensive training, he appeared in his first-ever competition in 1926, where he defeated the former nine-ball champion “Cowboy” Weston.
In the United States, Wanderone became the most recognized pool player and was widely known as a traveling pool hustler and also a most colorful character. During his first career, he adopted various nicknames, like Rudy, Triple-Smart Fats, New York Fats, Broadway Fat, and Chicago Fats. But the fame he got was his nickname “Minnesota Fats,” a fictional pool hustler created by American novelist and later in 1961, filmed as The Hustler. The film gained wide publicity, and Wanderone used to make claims that the fictional character created was based upon him. However, his application was denied by the author Walter Tevis.
During his early age in the 1920s, Rudolf Walter Wanderone spent most of his time as a traveling pool hustler. He got married to Evelyn Inez Graff, his first wife, when he moved to southern Illinois with his friend, and just after World War II in 1942, Wanderone and his wife moved to Norfolk, Virginia. In 1985, he divorced his first wife. After that, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and married his second wife, Theresa bell.
Rudolf Wanderone Net Worth
Throughout his professional career, Rudolf Walter Wanderone did not win any main pool championship, nor participated in any tournament, as he remained busy in hustling. He also had a dispute with World champion Mosconi, who believed that instead of promoting the pool as a courteous activity, Wanderone is presenting the pool as a gambling game. Wanderone and Mosconi (the traditional rivals) also had a one-on-one match on February 14, 1974, which was aired on an American sports television program ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The show watched by a record, 11 million viewers, and was declared second-highest-rated show. Wanderone lost the game, but he entertained the crowd with his funny behavior.
Acknowledging his contribution to promoting the pool as an entertainer, he was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 1984. The primary source of income for Wanderone was only to play exhibition games. For this purpose, he started to appear on the television, and on January 17, 1965, he performed in the game show What’s My Line? Later in 1970, he appeared in another television game show, Celebrity Billiards, with Minnesota Fats, in which he played against guest celebrity players. According to some online resources, the net worth of Rudolf Walter Wanderone is $1 Million.
Rudolf Walter Wanderone was a good shooter. His talent wasn’t meant to make the game but to make money and deprive the opponent of his saving. Doing so, in 1948-55, he was among the best in private money games. He also appeared in a feature film titled “The Player,” in which Wanderone played the role of Minnesota Fats. Wanderone had a severe heart attack in 1992, but he survived, but in 1996, he again had a fatal cardiac arrest, and he died on January 15, 1996.