Fatty and Etta

L.S. Dennis

Active member
I sometime ago there was a lot of talk about Fats being the father of Etta James although he never admitted it. I think James said she thought it was the case. I don’t know if there was ever a DnA done if there was it was never revealed. Interesting gossip if nothing else!
 

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PoolBum

Ace in the side.
Silver Member
Fats said he wasn't her father, and his widow said that he was incapable of having children.
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
Fats said he wasn't her father, and his widow said that he was incapable of having children.
Fat’s widow Evelyn also admitted that he ”loved” women,. I wonder if among his many talents he could also sing well?
Only DNA will tell for sure but on a scale of 1 to 10 with ten meaning he is absolutely her fatther I suspect I’d put it at around a 7.
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
100% Fats was not her father! I knew the man well and he was no liar. At least not about things like this. He might stretch the truth in pool on occasion. He told me he never even had sex with a woman of color in his lifetime and I believe him.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
After gettin together with Evelyn Wanderone 6 weeks after Fattys death.
My after thoughts on this alleged NESS Threat/thought gives me a 2020 internet feeling. :(

Back to the topic....
In our talks (deadpan 1 hr interview of their 40+ yrs together), about him at the age of 8, his dad a Merchant Marine who ADORED this boy PLUS fattys, love of his sisters, his propensity or time for an affair was NOT is this mans character. He was not Cosby. His dad taught this man well
 
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L.S. Dennis

Active member
But the icing on the cake, so to speak, is this comment by Jerry Forsyth.

View attachment 611717
Interesting, this could be strong evidence that this could be true. One thing for sure the man was a humanitarian, there‘s a great passage in Jay’s book about them feeding dogs some raw meat that Fat’s provided on a daily basis.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Moreso....Evelyn went in to the bathroom at their home, and Fat's let her know there was a fly in there and ''too leave it alone''. Later on Ev said she used the b/rm and Again fatty asked her on her way out, if the fly was still ok. He had an appreciation for life like a child, and when his sister died, Ev said....''he balled uncontrolled like a two yr old''.
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
Moreso....Evelyn went in to the bathroom at their home, and Fat's let her know there was a fly in there and ''too leave it alone''. Later on Ev said she used the b/rm and Again fatty asked her on her way out, if the fly was still ok. He had an appreciation for life like a child, and when his sister died, Ev said....''he balled uncontrolled like a two yr old''.
I remember the same story pretty much. There was a ’human compassionate‘side to Fats that not everyone knew about apparantly.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
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An interesting, well-written, and extensive write up about Fats is in the book "Fast Company" by Jon Bradshaw subtitled "How Six Master Gamblers Constantly Defy the Odds - And Always Win". It also covers Titanic Thomson and Bobby Riggs. In the section on Fats, you will also meet Daddy Warbucks, Red, Shorty, Ronnie Allen, and hear about the early days of Johnston City. You can get the book delivered to your house for under $10. (A little off topic since Etta is not mentioned in the book.)
 
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maha

from way back when
Silver Member
it kind of came up over breakfast one day. and yes he wasnt a liar. a bull shitter in the pool room certainly though.
i was almost embarrassed with how much he orders.
 

Pin

Registered
From Dyer's book The Hustler and the Champ (Fats and Mosconi), I came away thinking he almost certainly was the father. It seemed fairly certain he socialized with Etta's mother at the right kind of time. But I don't know much about it.

An interesting, well-written, and extensive write up about Fats is in the book "Fast Company" by Jon Bradshaw subtitled "How Six Master Gamblers Constantly Defy the Odds - And Always Win". It also covers Titanic Thomson and Bobby Riggs. In the section on Fats, you will also meet Daddy Warbucks, Red, Shorty, Ronnie Allen, and hear about the early days of Johnston City. You can get the book delivered to your house for under $10. (A little off topic since Etta is not mentioned in the book.)
There's a great quote from Fats in Fast Company along the lines of
"Ya win, ya lose, ya win, ya lose. If at the end of the day you've got enough money for a hot dog, you've done alright"

Fats has a lot of great lines, but for some reason that one stuck with me.
 

JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A copy-and-paste. Pool tale about Rudolph Wanderone aka Minnesota Fats by Keith McCready:

"I think I was the last guy that he played for money before he passed.

"I was in St. Louis competing in a pool tournament when I was about 19 or 20. Many of the best pool players of that era were in attendance, including Ronnie Allen who was good friends with the fat man. I was the up-and-coming star at this time, my game not even at its peak, and Fats, I believe out of curiosity, wanted to see how good I played. He had been hearing about this young kid from California, and Ronnie, with his usual gift of gab, got the game going.

"I was one of the very few privileged individuals given this opportunity to gamble with Minnesota, as he liked to be called, and what a show it was, one of the best times I have ever had in my life and something that I will never forget.

"I played him a nickel a game, 8 to 7, one-pocket, and then I spotted him 10 to 8 playing banks. He was a perfect gentleman, very funny, and the games were all pretty close. We were cutting up with each other, and if you think I'm funny, you should have seen him. He was the ultimate entertainer when he was at the table, a real crowd-pleaser, and this was a very unique show between a living legend and a kid. 'How do you like me now, Junior?' he would bellow out after making a good shot. And then as he would approach his next shot, he would turn to the crowd and make gestures towards me.

"I ate it up, laughing just as hard, if not harder, as everybody else. The whole joint was pulling for Fatty, which I don't blame them. If I wasn't playing, I would have been rooting for him too.

"I ended up beating him out of 8 dimes, and he paid me off: $4,000 in five-hundred-dollar bills and the rest in C-notes. He autographed every single one of those five-hundred-dollar bills as he handed them to me. They were priceless, and I sure do wish I still had them.

"I was on the road with a guy named Charlie the Ape then, and for whatever reason, Charlie went south with my winnings, stealing every single one of those signed five-hundred-dollar bills. But there is one thing that nobody can ever take away from me, and that is this wonderful memory, one I will always cherish, of playing Rudolph Wanderone a/k/a Minnesota Fats.

"Years later, I was living in Nashville, and word came out that Fats was very ill and in the hospital. I went to see him and he knew who I was, and even though he didn't feel good, he still maintained his sense of humor. He was talking about old times, laughing and smirking. A week later, he passed."

While Fats is long gone, his larger-than-life stories live on, much like this pool thread on Facebook. What separated Minnesota Fats from the rest was his ability to promote himself wherever he went and leave people with a smile on their faces. It's a different pool world today, I guess, and there will never be another pool entertainer like Fats.
 
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