Brandon Lee lost his father, martial arts legend Bruce Lee, when he was just 8 years old. He went on to have a film career of his own, but died in a tragic accident on set of a movie he was starring in. What was the name of the movie?
Brandon Lee was accidentally shot on the set of The Crow and died from injuries shortly after. He was 28 years old.
What was the name of River Phoenix’s character in Stand by Me?
Phoenix played Chris Chambers in the film, who came from a troubled family. The movie propelled him to stardom, but he died outside of the Viper Room club in 1993 at the age of 23.
How did R&B singer Aaliyah die in 2001?
Aaliyah had finished working on the video for the song “Rock the Boat” in the Bahamas when she boarded the plane that would crash and take her life, along with eight others, in 2001. She was 22 years old.
Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar posthumously for his role in what film?
Ledger was first nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, but the award ultimately went to another star who died too young, Philip Seymour Hoffman (for Capote). Ledger won his posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in The Dark Knight.
What is the name given to the group of artists and musicians who all happened to die at the age of 27?
The 27 Club is the name of the bizarre cultural phenomenon that appears to have touched the lives of not just musicians, but others as well, including actor Anton Yelchin, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. In 2011, a medical journal published a study concluding that the 27 Club is more of a coincidental phenomenon than an actual statistical likelihood, so if you’re 27 and an artist, no worries.
What was the name of the powerful rock musician who sang hits like “Piece of My Heart” in the ‘60s?
oplin was the most successful female rock star of her era. She died in 1970 at—you guessed it—the age of 27.
Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love welcomed a daughter into the world in 1992. What is her name?
Frances Bean just a toddler when her father died in 1994, but she’s gone on to become a model and visual artist.
What hit film franchise was Anton Yelchin part of before his untimely death in 2016?
Yelchin appeared as Pavel Chekov in three Star Trek films, including Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond, which was released shortly after his death at the age of 27. That film played tribute to the actor, as well as to Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role of Spock.
Which Egyptian pharaoh, whose tomb was discovered by archaeologists in 1922, died at the age of 19?
Because of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s, or Tut’s tomb, he’s become one of the most well-know Egyptian pharaohs. The cause of his death at 19 years old was likely an infected leg.
Which ancient Greek kingdom was Alexander the Great the king of?
Alexander the Great ruled over Macedon, leading his army to multiple victories in battle. He was never defeated in battle in his lifetime, but he succumbed to malaria at the age of 32.
Which cruel Roman leader had himself declared a god before he was assassinated by a group of guards in 41AD?
Caligula was probably the most terrifying Roman emperor for myriad reasons, his complete disregard for his subjects and his tyrannical treatment of political rivals among them. He was assassinated just before his 29th birthday.
Joan of Arc helped lead the French to victory over the English at Orleans during the Hundred Years’ War. How did she die?
After Joan was captured by the English and convicted of heresy, she was burned at the stake. She was only 19 years old.
What contemporary of William Shakespeare was known for his play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus?
People know Shakepeare better today, but at the time, Christopher Marlowe was a hugely successful playwright. He died at the age of 29 during a fight at an inn.
What famous composer, known for works like “The Magic Flute,” died at the age of 35?
While Mozart was successful and prolific, he suffered from escalating physical and mental problems before dying at the age of 35. The exact cause of his death remains unknown.
Emily Bronte was made famous by which novel, considered to be one of the classic works of English literature?
Wuthering Heights was Emily’s only successful work before she died at the age of 30 from tuberculosis.
Which Old West icon was said to have killed 21 men, one for each of the years of his life, before he was killed by a sheriff in 1881?
Billy the Kid was actually born in New York City before he packed up and headed West at a young age, becoming an outlaw and gunfighter. He died the age of 21.
Everyone remembers famous gangster couple Bonnie & Clyde—but what were their last names?
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow killed at least 13 people during their Great Depression-era crime spree before they were killed in a shootout with police in 1934.
Peter Finch is one of two actors who have won the Academy Award for Best Actor posthumously. Who is the other?
After his death at the age of 24 in a car crash, James Dean won two Best Oscars posthumously: one in 1955 for East of Eden and another in 1956 for Giant.
In 1959, three young musicians, including Buddy Holly, were killed in a plane crash. What nickname did that event come to be known as?
While Don McLean may have referenced the event in the song “American Pie,” the event itself is known as the Day the Music Died. Buddy Holly was just 22 when he died in the crash.
What was the name of the 17-year-old musician who died in the same plane crash as Buddy Holly?
Ritchie Valens had quit school at 16 years old to go on tour as a rock musician. Just one year later, he would perish in the same plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.
Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36 in 1962. What was the cause of her death?
According to the coroner’s report, Monroe died of an overdose, despite the fact that no pills were in her stomach—while it was reported that she’d likely quickly digested them, conspiracy theorists point to this fact and maintain that there was foul play.
What semi-autobiographical novel, about the protagonist’s descent into mental illness, was the only novel written by Sylvia Plath in her lifetime?
Both Plath’s novel The Bell Jar and poetry collections Ariel and The Colossus remain popular today. Plath struggled with depression and died by suicide in 1963 at the age of 30.
Many people were called “the fifth Beatle,” but Paul McCartney once said, “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was [him],” referring to the manager who steered them towards fame before dying in 1967.
Brian Epstein played a huge role in the meteoric success of the Beatles before dying of an overdose at the age of 32.
What singer, known as the King of Southern Soul, died in a plane crash in 1967?
Otis Redding may be best known for his song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” which was recorded just days before his death at the age of 26.
What was the name of the Russian cosmonaut who was the first person to travel in space?
Yuri Gagarin performed a successful orbit of Earth on the Vostok 1 mission, making him the first person to travel in space. He died in a plane crash in 1968 at the age of 34.
Bruce Lee brought Chinese martial arts to Hollywood cinema. Which of the following titles is NOT a Bruce Lee film?
While Bruce Lee appeared in Enter the Dragon, Fists of Fury, and Way of the Dragon, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin actually starred Gordon Liu. Lee died five years before its release, in 1973, at the age of 32.
What is the name of the British artist who died in 1974, known for the song “Pink Moon?”
Sadly, Nick Drake never lived to see his music reach the wide audience it has today. He died from an overdose at the age of 26.
Which influential punk band was Sid Vicious the bassist of?
Vicious, bassist for the Sex Pistols, was found dead of an overdose at the age of 21, a few months after being released on bail following his arrest for the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
Bob Marley died in 1981 at the age of 36. What musical genre was he primarily associated with?
Reggae originated in Jamaica in the ‘60s, and Marley started his musical career with the Wailers in 1963 when he was still just a teen. He made a huge mark of the world of music before his untimely death from cancer.
What famous Canadian hero created the “Marathon of Hope?”
Terry Fox was diagnosed with cancer when he was 18 years old, and had his leg amputated as a result. He undertook the “Marathon of Hope,” where he would run across Canada, to raise money for cancer research. Before he could complete it, the cancer returned, and he died at the age of 22. Every year, millions of dollars are raised for cancer research at events in his name—totaling $750 million as of January 2018.
Whether or not you agree with the maxim that “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” you have an impressive knowledge of trivia surrounding history, literature, art, music, and film.
It’s pretty darn impressive that you know so much about the figures whose lives have touched the fields of music, film, literature, and history. Congrats on your excellent score!
Considering this quiz covered the worlds of history, philosophy, art, music, film, and literature, only a true trivia genius could’ve got this high of a score. Nice one—are you free to be on my trivia team next Tuesday?
Happy With Your Test Score? This video can help you do better on any quiz... even if you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the topic.
“Only the good die young.” Billy Joel may have sung it, but the phrase goes back to ancient Greece—the historian Herodotus famously said “Whom the gods love dies young.” Whether or not you believe it to be true, history is littered with stories of people who made a huge mark in their short lives, only to die before their time. How much do you really know about those bright flames who were snuffed out too soon?