31 October 1929|
Merewether, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||7 November 2004
Palmerston North, New Zealand
|Highest ranking||3 (5 years)|
|Highest break||124 (1984 Irish Masters)|
Australian Billiards Championship: 20 (1964-84)
Edward Francis ("Eddie") Charlton AM (31 October 1929 – 7 November 2004) was an Australian professional snooker and English billiards player. He remains the only player to have been world championship runner-up in both snooker and billiards without winning either title. He later became a successful marketeer of sporting goods launching a popular brand of billiard room equipment bearing his name.
Charlton was born in Merewether, New South Wales, Australia and came from a sporting family. His brother Jim was also a professional snooker player but never joined the world ranks. Eddie himself was also a senior grade footballer, a champion surfer, a good cricketer and a boxer. One of his proudest moments was when he carried the Olympic torch on part of its journey to the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
Charlton became a professional Billiards player in 1963 at the age of 34. The following season he won his first Australian Billiards Championship. For the next 20 years, with one exception, he won the title annually. He unsuccessfully challenged Rex Williams for the World Billiards Championship title in 1974 and 1976. His third appearance was in 1984 when he lost by a handful of points to Mark Wildman. Four years later he lost to two-time champion Norman Dagley in his last World Billiards final.
Charlton was also the most successful Australian snooker player until the emergence of Neil Robertson. From the first year of the rankings in 1976/77, he was ranked number three in the world for the next five consecutive seasons from although he never won a ranking tournament (because in the early years only the Snooker World Championship counted).
Charlton, who was known for his focused and dogged performances, was the runner up in the final of Snooker World Championships in 1968, 1973 and 1975. In his last appearance in 1975, he lost by just one game (31–30) to Ray Reardon. However his 1972, 1973, and 1980 victories in the BBC's Pot Black competition gave him a high profile with television audiences. He also recorded the first century break (110) on Pot Black, quite an achievement in a one-frame per match format.
Charlton was known for playing with a very straight cue action and rarely hitting the ball with any sidespin.
Non-Ranking Wins: (21)
- Australian Professional Championship - 1964,1966,1967,1969-1978,1984 (14 Times)
- World Matchplay-1976
- Pot Black- 1972,1973,1980
- Limosin International -1979
- Kronenbrau 1308 Classic - 1979
- Australasian Championship - 1969
- 1949 - Played exhibition billiards games with Walter Lindrum
- 1950 - Member of Swansea-Belmont team that won Australian Senior Boat Championship (surfing)
- 1956 - Carried Olympic flame through Swansea (NSW) on its way to Melbourne
- 1960 - Turned professional on the advice of Fred Davis
- 1968 - Won World Open Snooker Championship from Rex Williams
- 1968 - Snooker World Championship runner-up
- 1972 - Pot Black champion
- 1973 - Pot Black champion again
- 1975 - Snooker World Championship runner-up
- 1975 - Snooker World Championship runner-up for a third and final time
- 1976 - Won World Matchplay Championship from Ray Reardon
- 1978 - Won Winfield Masters Championship
- 1979 - Won Limosin Tournament in Cape Town
- 1980 - Won Pot Black Championship for third time
- 1983 - Rated fourth among world's 125 best snooker players
- 1984 - Rated sixth in the world at age 55 years
- 1997 - The Dennis Taylor Commentary Finals
Always active in the organisation and promotion of the game, Charlton was awarded the Order of Australia in 1980. He formed the Australian Professional Players Association and was responsible for bringing many of the top players to play in Australia. He made his final appearance at the Crucible in 1992 where he was defeated 10–0 by defending champion John Parrott, the only recorded whitewash in the history of the World Championship. He released a 30-minute beginners' instructional video, Eddie Charlton's Snooker, Pool & Trick Shots, in PAL VHS format. He stopped competing in 1995 and died in Palmerston North, New Zealand on 7 November 2004 following an operation.