Rudolf W. Wonderon
N 36° 13.388 W 086° 35.966
16S E 536000 N 4008771
Quick Description: This world class pool player is better known as Minnesota Fats.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 1/26/2008 3:59:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM31Q6
Rudolf (Wanderone) Wonderon was born in New York City where as a kid he hung around the city’s pool halls. He became quite accomplished at the game of pocket billiards and during the depression he became quite the pool hustler. Fats was boisterous and never at a loss for word when it come to talking about his favorite subjects, himself and pool. It wasn’t until after the 1961 movie “The Hustler” starring Paul Newman that Fats started calling himself “Minnesota Fats,” even though he had never been to Minnesota. Minnesota Fats became best known for a series of pool matches with another accomplished player, Willie Mosconi. These matches were broadcast by ABC Sports and were so popular that they have been re-runs several time over the years. Minnesota Fats died in 1996 in Nashville, Tennessee and is buried in the Hermitage Memorial Park.
His grave marker is inscribed, “Beat every living creature on earth….St. Peter Rack’em up. Fats!”
Note of Importance: There seems to be some descrepancy in the actual spelling of his last name. Many references show the spelling as Wanderone, however the grave marker and cemetery records show the spelling a Wonderon.
Rudolf (Wanderone) Wonderon was born on January 19, 1913 in New York City, New York. During his youth he would hang around the city’s many pool halls where he became quite accomplished at the game of pool. During the Great Depression “New York Fats” as he was then known made his living hustling pool anywhere he could find a game. “Fats” was known to brag on himself and his ability, which help him out when a number of “high roller” would come to town for big money games with the boisterous “Fats.”
“New York Fats,” changed his name to “Minnesota Fats” after the 1961 release of “The Hustler,” which starred Paul Newman. “Fats” had never been to Minnesota, and Walter Tevis, The Hustler’s author, denied that the movie was based on his character. Many people today think that the movie was based on Wonderons life, but that is simply not true.
Minnesota Fats is perhaps best know for a series of pool matches with Willie Mosconi, which was broadcast by ABC Sports. These shows featuring Fats and Mosconi were so popular that the network has re-aired them several times over the years.
Minnesota Fats lived in Nashville, Tennessee and died there on January 15, 1996. He is buried in the Hermitage Memorial Park just east of downtown Nashville. His grave
marker is inscribed, “Beat every living creature on earth….St. Peter Rack’em up. Fats!”
Date of birth: 01/19/1913
Date of death: 01/15/1996
Area of notoriety: Sports
Marker Type: Horizontal Marker
Visiting Hours/Restrictions: Daily - During Daylight Hours
Fee required?: No
Web site: [Web Link]
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