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Famous People Trivia Questions and Answers

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1. What was the Italian painter Cellini's first name, which is also the Italian word for welcome?


answer Answer: Benvenuto

Interesting Information:
Cellini was a true Renaissance man as he was an accomplished painter, goldsmith, writer and musician. One of his most famous statues, "Perseus with the Head of Medusa", is located in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Grazie, Pronto, Salve

2. Who presides over the coronation ceremony for British monarchs?


answer Answer: Archbishop of Canterbury

Interesting Information:
Coronations are held at Westminster Abbey in London, England. The ceremony usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
The Pope, The Prime Minister, Speaker of the House

3. Which British king died in 1952?


answer Answer: George VI

Interesting Information:
George VI became king in 1936 after the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
George II, George IV, George V

4. In medieval Britain, a chandler was a person who made what items?


answer Answer: Candles

Interesting Information:
The word chandler originated from the Old French word 'chandelier', which means candle maker. Most people with the surname Chandler can trace the origin of their name from the fact that their ancestors were candle-makers in Britain between the years 1350 and 1450. The name was passed on from father to son. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Barrels, Wigs, Knives

5. What does a fletcher make?


answer Answer: Arrows

Interesting Information:
The surname Fletcher originated in the 14th century in the English language and a fletcher was an arrow maker. The word stemming from the French for fleche, which means arrow. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Barrels, Pottery, Cutlery

6. Which city did the infamous Jack the Ripper roam?


answer Answer: London

Interesting Information:
The unidentified serial killer commonly referred to as Jack the Ripper killed a minimum of five women in the London Whitechapel area in 1888. Various other murders have also been attributed to him.
Despite the public's attention at the time and an ongoing interest of historians and the media ever since, no one has been able to identify the killer. There has been a wide range of suspects, including Prince Albert Victor, son of King Edward VII. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh

7. What nickname was given to Nadya Suleman, the woman from Southern California who gave birth to eight babies in January of 2009?


answer Answer: Octomom

Interesting Information:
Suleman had six embryos implanted through the in-vitro fertilization process. Two of them split into twins for a total of eight. All eight children survived. Suleman already had six children before this pregnancy, all of them were in-vitro babies. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Mother of Eight, Nutty Nadya, Crazy Lady

8. Who was the capital of Nevada, Carson City, named for?


answer Answer: Kit Carson

Interesting Information:
Carson City was named for famed explorer Kit Carson. Johnny Carson was a former host of the Tonight Show, Carson Daly is a television host, and Carson Palmer was a quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Johnny Carson, Carson Daly, Carson Palmer

9. "Life is a long lesson in humility" is a quote by which famous author responsible for creating "Peter Pan"?


answer Answer: J.M. Barrie

Interesting Information:
Barrie was born in the Scottish town of Kirriemuir in 1860 and he died of pneumonia in 1937. His birthplace at 9 Brechin Road in Kirriemuir is maintained as a museum by The National Trust for Scotland. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
A.A. Milne, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway

10. Who was the first Pole to become a Pope?


answer Answer: Karol Wojtyla

Interesting Information:
Karol Josef Wojtyla reigned as John Paul II, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978, until his death on 2 April 2005. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Lech Walesa, Zbigniew Boniek, Henryk Sienkiewicz

11. According to the National Health Service Central Register, what is the most common surname in the United Kingdom?


answer Answer: Smith

Interesting Information:
Smith is the most common surname in the U.K., followed by Williams, Taylor and Brown (in that order). Smith is also the most common surname in the United States and Australia. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Williams, Taylor, Brown

12. Henry VII married Elizabeth of York in 1486. Who was their most famous offspring?


answer Answer: King Henry VIII

Interesting Information:
Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV. King Henry VIII was their second son to survive past infancy. Their oldest son, Arthur, died aged fifteen. Henry VIII was the father of Elizabeth I. His sister Margaret was great-grandmother of King James I and great great-grandmother of King Charles I. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Elizabeth I, King Charles I, King James I

13. Mount Rushmore is one of America's most recognizable icons. While you may recognize the sculpture, can you name the artist that created it?


answer Answer: Gutzon Borglum

Interesting Information:
Gutzon Borglum was an American artist and sculptor famous for creating the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, as well as the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, Georgia. As for the others, Ivan Lendl was a champion tennis player from Czechoslovakia. Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor whose works included "The Thinker" and "The Kiss". Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, Ivan Lendl

14. Who said "Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"


answer Answer: Yogi Berra

Interesting Information:
Yogi Berra was one of the most quotable sports figures of all time. He also said
"I didn't really say everything I said." Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
George Foreman, Frank Sinatra, "Bugs" Moran

15. What inventor famously proclaimed, "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles"?


answer Answer: Thomas Edison

Interesting Information:
Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent bulb on December 31, 1879. Interestingly, over 20 inventors worked on the incandescent light bulb before Edison. The first attempt was in 1802 when Humphry Davy demonstrated a dim and short-lived incandescent light. Edison was the first to make a practical, long-lasting and mass-produced version. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein

16. Dylan Thomas is a world famous poet. In which European country was he born?


answer Answer: Wales

Interesting Information:
Dylan Thomas, the author of "Under Milk Wood", was born in Swansea in 1914. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Scotland, France, England

17. The French writer Albert Camus grew up in what Arabic-speaking, former French colony?


answer Answer: Algeria

Interesting Information:
Camus was born in Mondovi, a coastal town in Algeria, and Algeria serves as the setting for many of his novels. In the 1950's, Camus opposed Algerian independence, which led to a falling out with his contemporaries in the French left. Difficulty: Hard.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Ivory Coast, New Caledonia, French Guiana

18. This man was the father of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. What was the name of this reluctant king?


answer Answer: George VI

Interesting Information:
George VI is often known as the "reluctant king". He was forced to become the king when his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
James I, Edward VIII, Henry VIII

19. What U.S. Secretary of State, famous for his "plan", was the first American to be named a five-star general?


answer Answer: George Marshall

Interesting Information:
George Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1880. He was Chief of Staff of the Army during World War II and is felt to be largely responsible for the modernization of the U.S. Army during this period. His work as Secretary of State led to a massive rebuilding of postwar Europe, called the Marshall Plan, which would later earn him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Omar Bradley, Harry Truman, William Westmoreland

20. Who were the parents of England's Virgin Queen?


answer Answer: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Interesting Information:
Anne Boleyn was beheaded two years after her daughter's birth. Difficulty: Hard.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Henry VII and Katherine Howard, Henry VII and Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII and Katherine Parr

21. Of which famous Scottish poet was the 250th anniversary of his birth celebrated in January 2009?


answer Answer: Robert Burns

Interesting Information:
Robert Louis Stevenson was a novelist, Sir Walter Scott was a novelist and poet, and Gordon Brown was the British Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Gordon Brown

22. Which Danish navigator and explorer sailed in 1728 from the Pacific Ocean northward to the Arctic Ocean through the sea that now bears his name?


answer Answer: Vitus Bering

Interesting Information:
Bering (1680-1741) was the first explorer to prove that Asia and North America are separate continents, though he did not realize it at the time. The Bering Sea was named after him. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Jens Munk, Lars North, Jonassen Kattegat

23. In the early 20th century, I turned from blue to rose: which artist am I?


answer Answer: Pablo Picasso

Interesting Information:
Pablo Picasso was one of the founders of the Cubist movement in art and, like many artists, the style of his works evolved over time. His Blue Period paintings (1901-1904), influenced by his reaction to the suicide of a friend, were characterised by their monochromatic appearance and sombre subjects. This period was immediately followed by the Rose Period (1904-1906), when he returned to warmer colours and more cheerful subjects. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Albrecht Durer, Camille Pissarro, Angelica Kauffman

24. Steve Jobs was a famous and very successful entrepreneur. Which corporation did he co-found along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne?


answer Answer: Apple

Interesting Information:
The three successful businessmen co-founded Apple Inc. on April 1st, 1976 in Cupertino, California. During the first 30 years of business the name of the company was actually Apple Computer Inc. but later on they dropped the "Computer" from the title because of their expansion into the consumer electronics world. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Microsoft, Linux, Excel

25. What was the most famous invention of Karl Benz?


answer Answer: The petrol powered automobile

Interesting Information:
Karl Friedrich Benz (November 25, 1844 - April 4, 1929) was a German engine designer and automobile engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the petrol-powered automobile. His German contemporaries, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, also worked independently on the same type of invention, but Benz patented his work first and, after that, patented all of the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in automobiles. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Petroleum jelly, The gramophone, Vulcanisation of rubber

26. Who predicted that he would die on 2nd July 1566, and obligingly did?


answer Answer: Nostradamus

Interesting Information:
Michel de Nostradame, more commonly known by the Latinised version of his name, was famous for writing prophecies in the form of quatrains. They are still read today, and are sufficiently vague to be able to be applied to many events - with hindsight, of course! Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Claudio Monteverdi, Michelangelo, Henry VIII

27. Who was known for asking readers to "believe it or not"?


answer Answer: Robert Ripley

Interesting Information:
Ripley traveled the globe looking for unique and strange items for his syndicated cartoons. He visited 201 countries during his travels. His cartoons were published in seventeen languages. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Walter Cronkite, Bob Barker, Will Rogers

28. Which Scottish doctor began writing detective stories to make ends meet because his medical practice was unsuccessful?


answer Answer: Arthur Conan Doyle

Interesting Information:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although he is best known for his stories about Sherlock Holmes, he wrote many other types of books, including science fiction and historical novels. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Edgar Allan Poe, Erle Stanley Gardner, Dashiell Hammet

29. Which artist is well-known because of his painting "The Blue Boy?"


answer Answer: Thomas Gainsborough

Interesting Information:
Gainsborough painted his most famous painting, The Blue Boy, in 1770. He was born in 1727 and died in 1788. He specialized in portraits and landscapes. Another popular painting of his was Mr. and Mrs. Andrews. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

30. We know that Henry VIII of England married several times. How many of his wives shared the name Catherine/Katherine?


answer Answer: 3

Interesting Information:
Henry married six times. He had two wives named Anne. Katherine of Aragon was his first wife, Catherine Howard his fifth wife and Katherine Parr his sixth wife. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
1, 6, 4

31. Henry the VIII had six wives. How many of them were named Anne?


answer Answer: 2

Interesting Information:
Anne Boleyn was Henry's second wife. She was beheaded after being charged with treason and incest. Anne of Cleves was his fourth wife, but their marriage was annulled and she was officially known as his beloved sister. Difficulty: Average.
 
Some incorrect choices:
1, 4, 3

32. Writer George Bernard Shaw personally sent which future British Prime Minister two tickets to the opening of his play, "Pygmalion", 11th April 1914?


answer Answer: Winston Churchill

Interesting Information:
Upon receiving two tickets and a note that read, "Bring a friend, if you have one", Churchill promptly returned a reply explaining that he was unable to attend that particular evening. Instead he asked if he could acquire tickets "for the second night - if there is one". The reply and tickets were returned to Shaw. Difficulty: Hard.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Neville Chamberlain, Stanley Baldwin, Clement Attlee

33. What did an Irishman called Thomas Blood try to do that made him famous in 1671?


answer Answer: Steal the English Crown jewels

Interesting Information:
Even though some of the Crown Jewels were damaged during the attempted theft, King Charles II was quite taken with Blood; the King pardoned him personally, and awarded him land grants in Ireland worth 500 a year. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Sell Tower Bridge, Contact the spirit of King Henry VIII, Burn down Westminster Abbey

34. There was a legendary queen, Scheherazade, who told 1001 tales to one King Shahryar. In what country did she live?


answer Answer: Persia

Interesting Information:
Scheherazade was, it turns out, smart and witty. Her husband, Shahryar, had been nightly beheading a new wife. When Scheherazade came into the picture, she delighted her husband by her story telling, so much that he began to await the continuation of her well fashioned stories. Difficulty: Hard.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Babylon, Ethiopia, Thailand

35. What is the hierarchy of a Cosa Nostra clan?


answer Answer: Boss, Underboss, Caporegime, Soldiers, Associates

Interesting Information:
The Cosa Nostra also known as the Mafia is made up of a loose association of groups called "Families", "Coscas" or "Clans". The highest level that a non-Italian can advance to in a Mafia hierarchy is that of "Associate".
Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Big Boss, Middle Boss, Little Boss, Boss, President, Governor, Mayor, Police Chief, Big Tony, Big Al, Big Manny, Little Moe
But that's just the start! Here are more great Famous People trivia questions:

Answers for each are at the bottom of each quiz and on submit:

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