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U. J. Puckett (1910-1992)

image Utley J. Puckett (April 7, 1911 - June 22, 1992), best known as U. J. Puckett, was an American professional pocket billiards (pool) player.

Puckett was born in Prattsville, Arkansas in 1911. His father was killed in a logging mishap when he was only 5. He was talented in pool from an early age, and won the national nine-ball title in later years.

During the 1970s Utley Puckett frequented The Golden Nugget pool hall on W. Seventh Street in Fort Worth, Texas run by Gary Cecora. Pucket would turn down most offers to play with his trademark lopsided smile, "I can't play anymore." He preferred to hold court as the dean of the hustlers. He always had a ready smile and a fresh quip for everyone, from oldtime pool players like Magnolia Red (J.R. Richardson) to any guy just in off the street. Puckett befriended and offered playing tips to many up and coming players like Robert Newkirk and Frank "Bird" Thompson. UJ was impossible to forget; he had a big voice, ready smile and huge personality, his white hair stuck out from under a big hat, and his shuffling gait emphasized his size fourteen double narrow loafers.

He died in 1992 due to a stroke, at age 81. Years after his death, there have been rumors of his spirit's presence at a pool hall in Texas.

Work is for cowards.

        — pool hustler, in 1984 at age 76

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