Pool legend Steve “The Miz” Mizerak has died, AP reports.
Steve Mizerak, winner of multiple pool championships who became one of the game’s more recognizable figures by appearing in training videos, beer commercials and a movie, has died at age 61, his wife said Tuesday.
Mizerak died Monday in Palm Beach County from complications stemming from gall bladder surgery, Karen Mizerak told The Associated Press. Mizerak had not returned home since entering the hospital in January, she said.
Known by his nickname “The Miz,” Mizerak won four U.S. Open Championships and dozens of other billiards tournaments in his professional career, which began when he was 13. He was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s hall of fame in 1980.
He used his talent and name recognition to make training books and videos, bringing basics such as breaks and bank shots, to more advanced techniques for trick shots, to the masses. Mizerak also made a difficult trick shot in a now-famous commercial for Miller Lite, when the beer maker was using sports celebrities to sell its product in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mizerak appeared in the 1986 film “The Color of Money,” playing an opponent of Paul Newman’s character, Fast Eddie Felson.
He also branched out in the billiards merchandise business, serving as president and designer for a company he formed to make pool cues.
Born in Perth Amboy, N.J., Mizerak learned to play billiards at age 4, standing on a milk box in his father’s pool hall. Later, he taught history in the public school system in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, while also playing pool in his spare time.
Later in life, Mizerak, who lived on Singer Island, founded the Seniors Masters Tour.
Other survivors include his two sons, a stepson and two granddaughters.
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