Cue Sport Champion Luther “Wimpy” Lassiter

Luther “Wimpy” LassiterOn October 25, 1988, professional pool player Luther Lassiter died while practicing the sport he loved at his Elizabeth City home.

Born in Pasquotank County in 1918, Lassiter took an interest in pool at an early age, and the owner of a local pool hall in Elizabeth City let him practice there for free in exchange for cleaning the place after closing. He dropped out of school at 16 to pursue billiards full-time.

He gained the nickname “Wimpy” thanks to his insatiable appetite for hot dogs and soda, much like the Popeye cartoon character, who ate hamburgers.

After making money from pool mostly by challenging others to matches for money throughout the 1940s (that is “hustling”), Lassiter began to play the sport professionally in the early 1950s. He won his first championship title in 1962 and has more than 20 major titles to his name overall. Though he retired from pool in 1975, he continued to play in some smaller tournaments.

In 1983, Lassiter became the first, and so far only, person to be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame for billiards. He was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame that same year.

Lassiter is still considered by many to be the finest 9-ball player of all time.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.