Rex Williams (born 20 July 1933), son of Minnie Roberts and William Williams, is a retired English professional snooker and billiards player. Williams was an excellent junior player in both snooker and billiards.
His professional career began in 1951, during a period of decline in snooker. In the 1960s, when the World Snooker Championship was run as challenge matches, he faced John Pulman in the 1964 and 1965 finals but was unsuccessful both times. In December 1966, during an exhibition match in Cape Town, he followed Joe Davis as the second man to make an accredited maximum 147 snooker break.
He won the World Professional Billiards Championship seven times from 1968 to 1983, including a reign as champion from 1968 to 1980. He was less successful at snooker, although he did become the oldest player to reach a world-ranking final when, aged 53, he lost to Jimmy White in the final of the 1986 Rothmans Grand Prix. He twice reached the semi-final of the World Championship, losing in 1972 to Alex Higgins (having been four frames ahead with five left to play) and, in 1974, to Graham Miles. He gained the unfortunate distinction of never winning a World Championship match at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, after it became the Championship's permanent venue in 1977, despite playing at the venue on eight occasions (a record he shares with Cliff Wilson). He's also remembered for recovering from 8-1 down to win 9-8 against Terry Griffiths in the first round of the 1979 UK Championship, in Griffiths's first televised match (Griffiths was World Champion later that season). In 1996 Williams played and lost a best of 3 match to Ronnie O'Sullivan in order for O'Sullivan to prove that he was suitably skilled to play professional matches left-handed.
Williams was heavily involved in the administration of snooker and billiards. In 1968, he inspired the resurrection of the defunct Professional Billiards Players Association in the guise of the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and served as its chairman from 1968 to 1987 and 1997 to 1999. In 2001, he was expelled from the Association following alleged fiduciary irregularities and asked to repay legal costs of £28,268, but was reinstated as a full member the following year. The Association apologised for its actions "unequivocally".
He was also a commentator for BBC and ITV snooker coverage during the 1980s.
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