|Birthplace||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Birth date||May 19, 1920|
|Death date||November 28, 2002|
|Major racing wins, honours & awards|
|Major racing wins|
Bing Crosby Handicap (1951)|
Del Mar Handicap (1951)
San Diego Handicap (1951, 1954)
Del Mar Derby (1953)
San Carlos Handicap (1953)
Santa Catalina Stakes (1953, 1954)
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Pearson was successful jockey throughout the 1940s and 1950s, credited with over 800 victories, Pearson developed his interest in art after a serious riding accident, and went on to win over $170,000 on the television quiz shows The $64,000 Question and The $64,000 Challenge in 1956-57.
The $64,000 Question had a series of contestants with what were considered to be unusual interests and a jockey who was also an art expert was of great public interest. He acquired celebrity status as a result.
He later appeared in an episode of Perry Mason called "The Case of the Jilted Jockey", and had several small film parts in the next 20 years. In 1958, he was cast as private eye Donald Lam in a pilot episode of Cool and Lam, based on the books by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A. A. Fair, but the pilot remains the only episode in existence.
He assembled an extensive art collection and in later life became a dealer in pre-Columbian art.
Writer Sam Shepard dedicated his play, "Fool for Love" to Billy Pearson. Pearson was married six times.
Billy Pearson was living in Kingston, New York at the time of his death in 2002.
- Pearson, Billy and Stephen Longstreet (2003). NEVER LOOK BACK, The Autobiography of a Jockey, Simon and Schuster.
- Schorsch, David (1994). The Billy Pearson Collection of American Folk Art.