- John Virgo
John Virgo in 2003.
Born 3 March 1946
Sport country England Nickname Mr Perfection
Professional 1976–1995 Highest ranking 10 (1979/80) Tournament wins Non-ranking 1
Virgo turned professional in 1976, at a time when players such as Ray Reardon, John Spencer and Eddie Charlton were at the forefront of the sport. Although he had just turned 30 upon turning pro, he was still among the youngest players on the circuit at the time.
His snooker-playing fortunes peaked in 1979 when he reached the semi-final of the World Championship, and went on to win the 1979 UK Championship (though this was not a ranking event at the time), beating the reigning world champion Terry Griffiths. His UK Championship win came despite him being controversially docked two frames because of a miscommunication regarding the start time of the next session of play. He reached the Top 10 in the world rankings the following season.
Virgo, as part of his exhibition performances, had long performed trick shots and comedic impressions of other snooker players. During the 1982 World Championship, after one semi-final had finished early, he performed some of his impressions, such as of Alex Higgins, Terry Griffiths and Dennis Taylor. He repeated this act in the 1985 World Championship after both semi-finals ended earlier than expected.
Virgo retired from professional play in 1995. He is now a TV snooker commentator who works primarily during the BBC's coverage of ranking events. From 1991 to 2002, Virgo was co-presenter of the snooker-based TV game show Big Break with Jim Davidson. During each show, Virgo participates in the "trick shots" segment, where a competitor who had been ousted from the main quiz would try to copy a complicated snooker shot performed by Virgo in order to win a prize.
John's tribute book to Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, Let Me Tell You About Alex, was published by John Blake Publishing in February 2011.
Virgo lives in Hersham, Surrey, where he is the president of the Hersham Village Golf Club. He has one adult daughter Helen and one adult son named Paul. Virgo was once gunged on Noel's House Party. John is a fan of the football club Manchester United
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