Freddy the Beard was born in Chicago, IL on the south side of Chicago to a Sicilian father and Calabrese mother on November 16th, 1940. He was an early reader and skipped two grades. He had a passion for music, comic books and eastern religions. At fourteen he found pool and never looked back. He learned to play at the Bensinger's in the West Loop which was theĀ setting for Walter Tevis's The Hustler. He made life long friends there, including Billiards Digest columnist, the late George Fels. The Beard served in the US Army in the photo department in Germany in the late 1950s where he was given the nickname "Shades" (one of many. He had a scholarship to the University of Illinois at Champaign but soon dropped out because he missed pool too much. He spent the next fifty plus years studying and playing pool at home in Chicago and on the road. His forays into pool and learning 'the secrets of the universe' paralleled the greatest moments in American history and culture. He was first noticed nationally after beating legend Cicero Murphy in one pocket in Johnston City, IL. He was one of the most loved pool commentators and storytellers. He made his life mission to learn everything there is to know about bank pool and one pocket. His books - Banking with the Beard and The Gospool of Bank pool include top secret knowledge appreciated around the world. His DVDs "Banking with the Beard" and "Banks that don't go but Do" continue to be best sellers. His magnum opus - The Encyclopedia of Pool Hustlers is one of the most critically acclaimed biographies of the people and places of the pool world. It was a precious gift of love to his readers. Freddy the Beard was inducted into the onepocket.org Hall of Fame in 2006 and was the Emcee at the Banquet at Derby City. He passed away June 18th, 2014 and was survived by his daughter, Catherine Bentivegna Adami and son, Dino Frederick Bentivegna and grandchildren Andrew and Francesca.