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Jeanette Lee

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Jeanette Lee
Personal information
NicknameBlack Widow
Born (1971-07-09) July 9, 1971 (age 53)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Country United States
Medal record
Women's nine-ball
Representing  United States
World Games
Gold medal – first place 2001 Akita Individual

Jeanette Lee (born Lee Jin-Hee, Korean이진희, July 9, 1971, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American professional pool player. She was nicknamed the Black Widow because, in spite of her sweet demeanor, she would "eat people alive" when she got to a pool table and always wear black when playing pool.[1][2]



Lee was born to Korean-immigrant parents in Brooklyn in 1971. She attended the Bronx High School of Science before dropping out, earning money as a teenager by nannying and waitressing.[2] Lee started playing pool in 1989, after watching pro Johnny Ervolino at Chelsea Billiards in Manhattan.[2] She began her career playing in the local and regional scenes of New York City, including the Howard Beach Billiard Club in Queens, owned by music producer Gabe Vigorito, who first compared her demeanor to a black widow spider and financed her early tournament expenses.[3] She went on to rank as the No. 1 female pool player in the world during the 1990s, and received the Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) Sportsperson of the Year Award in 1998. She was three times runner-up at the World Nine-ball Championships (women's), from 1993 to 1996. In addition to many top finishes on the WPBA Tour, she won the gold medal for the United States at the 2001 World Games in Akita, Japan, and won the ladies' US$25,000 winner-take-all Tournament of Champions twice, in 1999 and 2003. Lee also co-wrote The Black Widow's Guide to Killer Pool.[4]

In 2001, Lee challenged Efren Reyes to a race-to-13 exhibition match at nine-ball, in Manila, Philippines, but lost 4-13.

For 2007, she was ranked #4 in Pool & Billiard Magazine's "Fans' Top 20 Favorite Players" poll.[5]

In 2013, Lee was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.[6]

Titles and achievements

  • 2020 Billiard Congress of America 2020 President’s Award
  • 2015 Asian Hall of Fame
  • 2013 Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame
  • 2013 Women's Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) Hall of Fame
  • 2013 Four Bears Classic 8-Ball
  • 2007 Billiards Digest Sports Most Powerful Person
  • 2007 Skins Billiards Championship
  • 2007 Team Cup Championship
  • 2007 Empress Cup Championship
  • 2005 Billiards Digest Sports Most Powerful Person
  • 2005 China Invitational Championship
  • 2004 Atlanta Women's Open
  • 2004 ESPN Ultimate Challenge
  • 2004 Ladies Trick Shot Challenge
  • 2004 WPBA Florida Classic Hard Rock Casino
  • 2003 Billiards Digest Sports Most Powerful Person
  • 2003 Tournament of Champions
  • 2001 Billiards Digest Sports Most Powerful Person
  • 2001 World Games Nine-ball Singles
  • 2001 BCA Open Nine-ball Championship
  • 1999 ESPN Ultimate Shootout
  • 1999 Tournament of Champions
  • 1998 WPBA Sportsperson of the Year
  • 1998 WPBA Penn Ray Classic
  • 1998 WPBA Cuetec Cues Hawaii Classic
  • 1997 WPBA Huebler Classic
  • 1997 WPBA Olhausen Classic
  • 1996 WPBA BCA Classic
  • 1995 WPBA Olhausen Classic
  • 1995 WPBA Brunswick Classic
  • 1995 McDermott World 9ball Bar Table Championships
  • 1994 Billiards Digest Player of the Year
  • 1994 Mosconi Cup
  • 1994 WPBA U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship
  • 1994 WPBA Baltimore Billiards Classic
  • 1994 WPBA Kasson Classic
  • 1994 WPBA San Francisco Classic
  • 1994 WPBA National Championship
  • 1994 Connecticut State Championship
  • 1993 North East Regional
  • 1993 WPBA Connecticut Classic

Outside competition


As someone who has suffered from scoliosis, Lee is a strong supporter of those affected by the disease, and now serves as the national spokesperson for the Scoliosis Association.[7] Lee appeared on Fox Sports Net's Sport Science, where she pocketed 12 balls in one trick shot, on March 30, 2008.[8] Orange County Choppers built the Black Widow Bike in Lee's honor on the TV show American Chopper.[9]

Personal life


Lee lives in Tampa, Florida, with her three daughters and foster-son.[10][11][12] Lee has three additional adult children, two of whom are her step-daughters from her marriage to George Breedlove, a professional pool player nicknamed "the Flamethrower".[2][13] Lee and Breedlove married in 1996, but have since separated.[13]

In February 2021, she announced that she had been diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer.[1][14] In May 2022, it was reported that her chemotherapy treatments were "successful" [15] A documentary about her life directed by Ursula Liang, Jeanette Lee Vs., premiered at the Doc NYC film festival on November 12, 2022.[16] The film is part of the acclaimed ESPN series 30 for 30.[17] The film had its television debut on December 13, 2022, on ESPN.[18] The film was also shown at the 2024 Freep Film Festival as part of the Asian American Pacific Islander Film Series.[19]


  1. ^ a b Hutton, Alice (February 18, 2021). "US billiards player 'The Black Widow' diagnosed with cancer". The Independent. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Prewitt, Alex (October 7, 2021). "The Little Blessings of the Black Widow". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  3. ^ Newman, Scarlett (June 16, 2023). "The Black Widow, A Pool Legend, Reflects on Her Sexy, Boundary-Pushing Style". Vogue.
  4. ^ Lee, Jeannette; Gershenson, Adam Scott (2007). The Black Widow's Guide to Killer Pool. Crown. ISBN 9780307421852.
  5. ^ "The Survey Says...: Pool & Billiard Magazine's 22nd Annual Player and Fan Poll". Pool & Billiard Magazine. Vol. 26, no. 2. Summerville, South Carolina: Sports Publications. February 2008. p. 14. ISSN 1049-2852.
  6. ^ "Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame Inductees, 2011-2018". bca-pool.com. Billiard Congress of America. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  7. ^ Morgan, John (April 18, 2003). "Jeanette Lee Shoots Down Scoliosis". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett. "Spotlight Health" section. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  8. ^ "Jeanette Sinks 12 Balls in One Shot" – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "American Chopper – 'Jeanette Lee Black Widow Bike'". BilliardsMovies.com. August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  10. ^ Marrero, Tony (April 20, 2016). "Jeanette Lee, the 'Black Widow' of billiards, is taking her next shot in Tampa (w/video)". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  11. ^ Spata, Christopher (February 19, 2021). "Billiards star Jeanette Lee, known as 'Black Widow,' battling cancer in Tampa". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  12. ^ Abrams, Jonathan (April 23, 2021). "The Black Widow of Pool Stares Down a New Challenge: Cancer". The New York Times.
  13. ^ a b Benbow, Dana Hunsinger (March 11, 2021). "She's the Black Widow of pool. Now Jeannette Lee, 49, is battling stage 4 ovarian cancer". Indystar.
  14. ^ Bieler, Des (February 18, 2021). "Jeanette Lee, pool's 'Black Widow,' reveals diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  15. ^ "Jeanette Lee's Medical Condition Update: Official Statement". AZBilliards. May 4, 2022. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  16. ^ "Jeanette Lee Vs". Doc NYC. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  17. ^ Manzo, John R. (May 17, 2022). "ESPN Films Announces 30 for 30 Documentary on 'The Black Widow' Pool Legend Jeanette Lee". ESPN Press Room U.S. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  18. ^ "ESPN announces 'Jeanette Lee Vs.' 30 for 30 will premiere December 13th". November 10, 2022.
  19. ^ Festival, Freep Film (March 13, 2024). "'Jeanette Lee Vs.'". Freep Film Festival. Retrieved April 30, 2024.