Objective: To determine whether the longevity of England test cricketers is influenced by occupational success, controlling for the influence of social background. Design: Archival survey. Setting: England. Subjects: Those 418 cricketers who played for England in a test match from the first test in 1876 to 1963, when the distinction between amateur and professional status was removed. Main outcome measures: Length of life. Results: Survival analysis of players born between 1827 and 1941 (349 dead, 69 alive) showed a significant relation between mortality and year of birth (p<0.001), amateur/professional status (p=0.042) and the number of test matches played (p=0.042). Captaining England was not related to survival. Conclusion: The link between longevity and both social background and occupational success is supported among test-match cricketers. Amateur, or ‘gentlemen’, cricketers from more privileged social backgrounds survived longer than professionals, or ‘players’. The most successful cricketers who played in a larger number of tests lived longer than those who played in a smaller number of tests. Captaining England, which could be regarded as a form of occupational ‘control’, was not associated with longevity.