James Warren White was born in Tooting, South London in 1962. Just 22 years later he was already one of the most popular snooker players in the world and had reached the final of the World Championships. Jimmy “Whirlwind” White is one of the best-loved characters the game has ever produced and his infamous six failures in World Championship finals have cemented his position as the People’s Champion.
Jimmy attended comprehensive school but failed to achieve academic success. This was largely down to his constant truancy from an early age. He was staying away from school to attend “Zans” snooker hall where he quickly showed great promise. As a teenage his career really took off and he won the English Amateur championships in 1979. In 1980 he became the youngest ever winner of the World Amateur Championship at the tender age of 18. It was then time to turn professional and step into the public gaze.
Jimmy’s cheeky character endeared him immediately to snooker fans who quickly dubbed him “Whirlwind” after seeing his fast paced style. He entered the World Championship for the first time in 1981, losing in the first round to Steve Davis. He would go on to reach the final 6 times but sadly lose all of them, and was one of only 6 people to make a maximum 147 break in the competition. He did, however, win 23 professional tournaments during his career and reached the ranking of number 2 in the world.
By 2002 his form was becoming less consistent and by 2005 he had dropped out of the world’s top 32, never to return. He did notably win the Senior World Championships in 2010, defeating Steve Davis in the final! White still plays on the professional tour but is ranked only 55 in the world. He now spends much of his time playing exhibition matches and making personal appearances.
Away from Snooker
Jimmy is an excellent pool player and loves a game of poker! In 1995 he was part of the winning team in the Mosconi Pool tournament, winning the deciding match and in 2003 he won the Poker Million with, of all people, Steve Davis sitting at the same table. In 1995 He was diagnosed with testicular cancer after a routine visit to his doctor.
He had a lump surgically removed and was later given the all clear. In 2009 he found time to enter ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” where he again proved popular with the viewers and finished third. He was also in the news in the late 1990’s when his bull terrier “Splinter” was dognapped and held to ransom. White agreed to pay the ransom and managed to get “Splinter” home safely.
White’s life away from the table was less than successful! He had a fiery and sometimes violent relationship with wife Maureen. The couple eventually divorced but had five children together. Jimmy led a rock and roll lifestyle at the height of his fame, ending up in quite a mess from over indulgence in drink and Drugs. He was also poor with money, frittering away millions and eventually ending up bankrupt. Today he has calmed down and lets his eldest daughter, Lauren, manage his affairs but he still drives a flash car with the number plate “CUE BOY”!
Jimmy White can rightly be regarded as a legend. He is one of the most successful players in snooker history and certainly one of the most popular. Famous for his wild lifestyle, fast play, unusual cue action and an endearing personality he is truly one of the sporting superstars of our times.
Some Less Active Sports to Try Out!