Category: Biography

Who the Hell Am I?

How about we play another fun and exciting game of Who the Hell Am I?

In this game you get 10 clues to guess the name of a famous person. These clues are numbered countdown-style, 10 to 1, with the first clue numbered 10. Your score is determined by the highest numbered clue that evokes the correct answer.

At the end of the clues you can click a link for the answer. However, the link is numbered zero, so if you haven’t figured out the answer by the time you click it, you get no points.

Who the hell am I?

10. I was born in 1908, and died of cancer in 1989. I was in show business, and my acting career spanned nearly 60 years. I’m often depicted smoking a cigarette, in movie scenes. In fact I was addicted to cigarettes, chain-smoking 100 per day, late into my life.

9. Four years before my death, I disinherited my daughter after she published a memoir that accused me of being a bully and an alcoholic. I never got over this backstabbing book.

8. I’ve won two Academy Awards, and was the first person in show biz to be nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

7. I came to Hollywood in 1930, at age 22. I failed my first two screen tests, but finally landed a movie role, due to my unusual eyes. But the movie was a dud. In 1932, after six failed movies in a row, I was fired by Universal Studios. That same year, as I was preparing to leave Hollywood, I was hired by Warner Brothers and got a role in a successful film.

6. In 1934, after more than 20 film roles, I finally got my big break when I starred in the movie Of Human Bondage. My role as a mean, vicious, manipulative person, won critical acclaim, turning me into a major star. There was widespread outrage when I was not nominated for an Academy Award, and this led to a change in the way the Academy votes for nominees.

5. The voting change helped, because in 1935 I won my first Academy Award, playing the role of a troubled Broadway star in the movie Dangerous.

4. In 1949, I became the highest-paid woman in the United States. And in 1977, I became the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.

3. One of my most famous quotes is, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night,” from the 1950 movie, All About Eve.

2. I had a career-long running feud with actress Joan Crawford. She and I co-starred in the 1962 movie, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? In one scene, I push Joan down a flight of stairs. I consider this scene to be the most enjoyable time I ever had with her.

1. In 1981, the best-selling record for the year was a song by Kim Carnes, about my unusually big, beautiful eyes. It topped Billboard’s Hot 100 for nine weeks.

0. Still flummoxed? You can click on this link and read all about me on Wikipedia. Or, you can click on this link and learn my name from Kim Carnes’ 1981 hit song. But either way you look at it, you get zero points.

Who the Hell Am I?

How about we play another fun and exciting game of Who the Hell Am I?

In this game you get 10 clues to guess the name of a famous person. These clues are numbered countdown-style, 10 to 1, with the first clue numbered 10. Your score is determined by the highest numbered clue that evokes the correct answer.

At the end of the clues you can click a link for the answer. However, the link is numbered zero, so if you haven’t figured out the answer by the time you click it, you get no points.

Who the hell am I?

10. I was born in Bonn, Germany, in December, 1770. I’m named after my grandfather, who was a pre-eminent musician in Bonn. His son, my father Johann, was alcoholic and very abusive. He pushed the family tradition of music heavily on me, which often left me traumatized and in tears. He also promoted me as a child prodigy, and would lie about my age to make me seem younger than I was. But all the pushing paid off, as I was able to publish my first musical work in 1783, at age 13.

9. In 1791, at age 21, I moved to Vienna, where I quickly became renowned as a virtuoso pianist. I was regarded by the Viennese as the successor to Mozart, who had died the same year I arrived in Vienna.

8. My friend, the German playwright Johann Goethe, once wrote the following about me: “His talent amazed me; unfortunately he is an utterly untamed personality, who is not altogether wrong in holding the world to be detestable, but surely does not make it any more enjoyable … by his attitude.”

7. I never married, but had many heart throbs. In 1801, I fell in love with a young countess named Julie Guicciardi, but due to class differences I did not pursue her. However, I did dedicate my famous Moonlight Sonata to her. And in 1810, at age 40, I proposed to the 19-year-old niece of my doctor. But she rejected me. For her, I wrote the short piano piece, Für Elise.

Josephine Brunsvik

6. After my death, a 10-page, unsent love letter was discovered in my estate, addressed to my “Immortal Beloved.” Scholars have debated for many years as to the identity of this person. Many believe it was a young widow named Josephine Brunsvik. I had fallen hopelessly in love with Josephine in 1799, but she was an aristocrat and could not marry me. In 1994, a movie was produced entitled “Immortal Beloved,” which portrayed the addressee of this letter as my sister-in-law, Johanna Reiss.

5. In 1798, at age 28, I got into a quarrel with a singer, and fell into a fit. It was at this time that I first noticed that I was losing my hearing. By the time I was 31, my growing deafness led me to contemplate suicide. So I moved to a small town in Austria, where I spent six months trying to come to terms with my condition. At this time I became determined that if I should “seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not crush me completely.” I continued on as a musician, and was open to the public about my condition. I maintained most of my ability to hear speech and music normally until age 42. But I never went completely deaf. Even up to my death, I could still hear low tones and sudden loud sounds.

4. My First Symphony premiered in 1800, when I was 30. I would go on to compose nine major orchestral pieces in my lifetime. In 1803, I composed my Third Symphony, in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom I greatly admired. But shortly after giving it the title, Bonaparte, I learned he had declared himself the Emperor of France. This ran contrary to the democratic and anti-monarchical ideals of the French Revolution, and in a rage I ripped his name from the title. It was renamed, Eroica.

3. My Fifth Symphony was the last piano concerto that I would compose. I composed it in Vienna in 1809, while Napoleon was besieging the city. To protect my deteriorating hearing from drums, cannonfire, shelling, and other loud war noises, I hid in a cellar much of the time, and covered my ears with pillows. However, by the time this symphony premiered in public in 1811, I had lost so much of my hearing, I could not perform at the piano. This symphony was given the title, The Emperor, by others, but I do not approve of this, because I did not like Napoleon.

2. I composed my final symphony, Symphony #9, while I was almost completely deaf. Critics have lauded it as one of the supreme achievements in the history of music. This is the first ever major symphonic composition that incorporated choral music, and the words to the music were taken from a poem by Friedrich Schiller, entitled Ode to Joy. It premiered in Vienna on May 7, 1824. In spite of my deafness, I insisted on helping the official conductor, but I didn’t know that he had instructed the musicians and singers to ignore me. I was still conducting after it ended, and had to be physically turned around to see the standing ovation my symphony was receiving.

1. Over my lifetime, I composed many famous musical pieces. I died on March 26, 1827, at age 56, and have been decomposing ever since. I was a heavy drinker during my life, much like my father. I was bedridden from an illness for three months before I died and ironically, my doctor treated this illness with alcohol. An autopsy revealed significant liver damage, so I probably succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver.

0. Still can’t guess my name? You can click on this link and read all about me on Wikipedia. But let’s face the music: you get zero points.

If you want to hear some of my music, here’s Lang Lang performing Für Elise, the short bagatelle I composed for a 19-year-old woman who rejected my marriage proposal:

Who the Hell Am I?

How about we play another fun and exciting game of Who the Hell Am I?

In this game you get 10 clues to guess the name of a famous person. These clues are numbered countdown-style, 10 to 1, with the first clue numbered 10. Your score is determined by the highest numbered clue that evokes the correct answer.

At the end of the clues you can click a link for the answer. However, the link is numbered zero, so if you haven’t figured out the answer by the time you click it, you get no points.

Who the hell am I?

10. I was not well educated, having dropped out of school after the 5th grade to pick cotton and find other work to help my family. And yet I’d eventually become a war hero, famous book writer, song writer, and movie actor.

9. I was 16 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I immediately tried to enlist, by lying about my age, but was turned down due to being underweight. But eventually I got my weight up enough to join the Army. I saw my first action at age 18, during the Allied invasion of Sicily.

8. In September 1944, while fighting in northeastern France, I was awarded the purple heart for a heel wound from a mortar shell blast. On October 2, 1944, I killed four German soldiers, and wounded three, at a German machine gun position, for which I was awarded a Silver Star. Three days later, I led my men against direct German fire, and we took a hill. We killed 15 Germans and wounded 35 in that action, and for it I was awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to go with my Silver Star. Then, on October 26, 1944, I captured two German snipers, and was shot in the hip by a third, before I returned fire, shooting that son-of-a-bitch right between the eyes. For this I got a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for my Purple Heart, and gangrene in my hip. The gangrene was removed, along with part of my hip muscle, leaving me with a 50% disability. But I continued to fight on.

7. On January 24, 1945, I was shot in both legs during a German counterattack at the Colmar Pocket in France, for which I received a second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to go with my Purple Heart. Two days later, I was made Commander of my company. That same day, six German tanks and several hundred infantrymen attacked my company. I ordered my men to fall back, while I covered their retreat. Then the Germans hit an American tank destroyer, setting it on fire. I jumped on top of that burning tank destroyer, mounted its .50 caliber machine gun, fully exposing myself to the advancing Germans. For the next hour I blasted away at those Huns, repelling their attack and killing over 20 of them. I then led my company on a counterattack, killing or wounding 50 more German soldiers. For this heroic action, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

6. After World War II, I was celebrated as a national hero, having been one of the most decorated combat soldiers of World War II. In fact, I had received every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army. I was feted with parades and banquets, and was featured on the cover of Life Magazine.

5. My fame as a war hero led to a career as a Hollywood actor, initially with help from actor James Cagney. I would eventually star in over 40 feature films and one television series. Most of the films were Westerns.

4. In 1949, I wrote a book about my war exploits, entitled, To Hell and Back, although I had help from a ghostwriter named David “Spec” McClure. In 1955, the book was made into a movie, which I starred in. The movie was a huge commercial success, and I made over a million dollars from it.

3. I invested lots of my money in thoroughbreds, and raced horses at Del Mar. But I had a bad gambling habit and lost a ton money at this hobby. I also lost $260,000 in a busted Algerian oil deal. And I got into trouble with the IRS over unpaid taxes. I reached a point where I needed money, and I could have made all kinds of money by appearing in alcohol and cigarette commercials. But I always turned down that kind of work, because I didn’t want to be a bad influence for kids.

2. Although I was a big war hero, my combat experiences affected my mental health. I suffered from PTSD, which was called “combat fatigue” back then. I slept with a loaded gun under my pillow. I took sleeping pills to avoid nightmares, and was addicted to sedatives for awhile. I spoke publicly about these problems, and lobbied the government to increase their study of the emotional impact of combat experiences. My PTSD left me feeling moody, which often left my friends alarmed. On one occasion I held my first wife at gunpoint. And in May 1970, I was arrested for attempted murder, but was later cleared of the charges.

1. On May 28, 1971, at age 45, I was a passenger in a private plane that crashed into a mountain in Virginia, under foul weather conditions and zero visibility. I was killed, along with four other passengers and the pilot. I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Some of those who attended my funeral were U.N. Ambassador George H.W. Bush, and Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland. My gravesite remains the second-most visited gravesite at Arlington, after that of President John F. Kennedy.

0. Still can’t figure out my dog tag? Ha, looks like I really stumped you! But don’t worry, I’m not mad about it, and won’t shoot you. You can click on this link and read all about me on Wikipedia. But you get zero points. However, this is Veteran’s Day, so I’m willing to give you one point if you’ll thank a vet today, for their service.

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