Northwest Quiz: Local Luminaries

We’re fortunate to be part of the Chicago region, where so many bright minds got their start. All of the people described below have shed lasting light on their fields of expertise. See if you can name them. No Peeking! Answers below.


Quiz Questions

1. This prolific composer, record producer, conductor and trumpeter has racked up 79 Grammy Award nominations, with 27 wins, including a Grammy Legend Award.

2. This gifted late architect believed that architecture was about nourishing the lives of people who use buildings. His inspiration was nature, or “the inner harmony which penetrates the outward form.”

3. This late American poet was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1950. Among her published books of poetry are A Street in Bronzeville and Annie Allen.

4. This beloved actor and comedian is best known for his deadpan expression and hilarious films like “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes,” and “Groundhog Day,” although we first met him on the TV show “Saturday Night Live” in the late 1970s.

5. This famous reformer was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She worked tirelessly for world peace, womens’ voting rights, better health and education for children, juvenile justice reform and much more.

6. This late actor is best known for parting the Red Sea as Moses in “The Ten Commandments.”

7. This beautiful 1980s supermodel was discovered at age 16, after a photographer snapped her image while she was detasseling corn in DeKalb, Ill.

8. Among this Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright’s plays are “Speed-the-Plow” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Among his screenplays are “The Verdict” (1982) and “The Untouchables.” (1987).

9. This 1976 Olympic Gold Medal champion figure skater also won the World championship that year, at the age of 19. Today she’s a breast cancer survivor who still skates, mentors young skaters and commits time to charity work.

10. This late American author and journalist won the 1954 Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, and you probably read at least one of his seven novels in high school. Among them: A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.

11. This late movie maven was one of the biggest actresses and fashion icons of the silent film era, but successfully transitioned to the talkies as an actress, singer and producer. She inspired many young actresses who followed her to maintain control of their own careers, as she had.

12. This late author is loved for his fantasy, mystery and science fiction novels, which include The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man and Farenheit 451.

13. This sex symbol wanted to be a ballerina but was told she had the wrong body shape. She rose to stardom anyway, in the late 1960s; you may recall seeing her pose in an animal-skin bikini.

14. This late handsome actor starred both in romantic comedies and dramatic roles during the 1950s and ’60s, with film classics like “Giant,” “Pillow Talk” and “Magnificent Obsession” to his credit.

15. This giant in the world of animation also was a genius of theme park design.

16. Talk show host and billionaire. Need we say more?


Quiz Answers

1. Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., was born in 1933 in Chicago and began his career arranging songs for Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Ray Charles. The first African-American to be a record company executive in a white-owned company (Mercury Records), he also composes movie scores and has collaborated with top stars, including the late Michael Jackson, on the Thriller and Bad albums.

2. Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wis., in 1867, but adopted Chicago as his hometown when he was 20. Wright influenced American architecture by moving away from European styles, using more open floor plans better suited to American lifestyles, and adopting the principle of “organic architecture” that promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world.

3. Gwendolyn Brooks, who was born in 1917, grew up in Chicago and had her first poem published at the age of 13. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950. President John F. Kennedy invited her to read at a Library of Congress poetry festival in 1962, and she afterward began teaching creative writing to students at several Chicago-area universities and colleges. She died at age 83 in Chicago.

4. William James Murray (Bill Murray) was born in Wilmette in 1950, the fifth of nine children. He became famous on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in the ’70s, winning an Emmy Award for it, and has since starred in dozens of films. Today, Murray golfs and is a diehard Chicago Cubs and Bears fan. He owns a minor league baseball team, the Charleston, N.C., Riverdogs.

5. Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Ill., attended Rockford Female Seminary (now Rockford University) and spent much of her time in Chicago, where she co-founded Hull House. It provided about 2,000 people per week, mostly immigrants, with various social services. She worked to improve social conditions, such as restricting child labor and enforcing sanitation and building codes.

6. Charlton Heston was born John Charles Carter in 1923 in either Evanston or unincorporated Wilmette – biographers disagree. He earned a drama scholarship to Northwestern University while acting in Winnetka Community Theatre. His big film break came in 1952 during “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which won Best Picture.

7. Cindy Crawford was born in DeKalb in 1966 and was the 1984 valedictorian of DeKalb High School. She won a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern but dropped out to model. Fashion designer Michael Kors has said: “Cindy changed the perception of the ‘sexy American girl’ from classic blue-eyed blonde to a more sultry brunette with brains, charm and professionalism to spare.”

8. David Mamet was born in Chicago in 1947. Pulitzer aside, his stage and screen work has earned him Tony and Oscar awards. The prolific playwright also has published books, and produced and written TV shows such as “The Unit” and “The Shield,” and radio dramas for the BBC, among many other accomplishments.
9. Dorothy Stuart Hamill was born in 1956 in Chicago, but learned to skate on her grandparents’ pond in Connecticut. Hamill is known not only for her skill in ladies’ single skating, but also her charming disposition and the short hairstyle she made famous in the 1970s. A breast cancer survivor, she devotes much time to charity work.

10. Ernest Miller Hemingway was born and raised in Oak Park in 1899. After high school, he briefly worked as a newspaper reporter before enlisting as a WW I ambulance driver. He later moved to Paris. He committed suicide at his Idaho home in 1961, after years of pain caused by plane crash injuries he received in Africa.

11. Gloria May Josephine Swanson was born in 1899 in Chicago and may best be remembered for her role in “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), in which she portrayed a silent film star whose glory days had waned – a role rejected by Mae West and Mary Pickford. She turned down a $1 million contract in 1927 to instead join United Artists, where she had more control over her destiny.

12. Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in 1920 in Waukegan, and his hometown served as the model for fictional “Green Town,” a symbol of safety and home in many of his stories. By the time he died in 2012, he had published hundreds of stories and several novels. Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and President Barack Obama were among his mourners.

13. Jo Raquel Tejada (Raquel Welch) was born in Chicago in 1940 to a Bolivian aeronautical engineer and an American mother. She auditioned, unsuccessfully, for the role of Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island.” This shapely lady’s big break came when she was cast in “Fantastic Voyage” in 1966, which made her a star.

14. Rock Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer Jr.), was born in 1925 in Winnetka and attended New Trier High School, before serving as an aircraft mechanic in WW II. He rose to stardom after playing the lead in “Magnificent Obsession” opposite Jane Wyman (Ronald Reagan’s first wife.) Hudson appeared in nearly 70 films and a dozen TV shows, working up to his death in 1985.

15. Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. He became enchanted by animation while working for an ad company in Kansas City – a job he didn’t want, but took, in desperation, when he couldn’t find work as an artist. During a bus trip home to Chicago, he drew up sketches for an amusement park. By the time of his 1966 death, he’d built a movie empire, transformed animation, opened Disneyland (1955) and laid plans for DisneyWorld and EPCOT.

16. Oprah (born Orpah) Winfrey was born in Mississippi in 1954. She’s been strongly tied to Chicago since 1983, when she took over a struggling a.m. TV talk show and catapulted herself to talk show fame. Once a poverty-stricken child, she’s the first black female billionaire, and the richest African-American of the 20th century, according to Forbes.