The Last Bank Shot

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NASHVILLE: Minnesota Fats, the flamboyant hustler who could shoot pool with either hand and once boasted that "nobody in the world can beat me if I play for money" died in Nashville. Born Rudolf Wanderone Jr. in New York City, Fats spent most of his life as a hustler in pool halls all across the country, playing competitively until the late 1980's. Known earlier in his career as New York Fats, he changed his name to Minnesota after Jackie Gleason's Minnesota Fats character in the 1960 movie "The Hustler." Fats was a consummate showman who stuffed $100 bills in the breast pocket of his suits when he played. His exact age was unknown. Friends say he was born January 19, 1900, but a 1966 biography placed his birthdate on January 19, 1913. Fats himself always declined to clarify, once telling a reporter: "No one on this Earth knows how old I am."