Famous people

Where can I find information about famous people?

Entry last updated: 1/12/23


Famous people are people who are well known throughout the world for what they have done. They come from all areas of life, including politics, sport, music, art, science and technology. Sometimes they are called celebrities or heroes. In this entry we will show you how to find information about famous people from the past and the present.

Some famous people

Here is a list of famous people, but there are many more. Some famous people have their own official websites or foundations, like the ones highlighted below.

Joan of Arc (1412? - 1431): French heroine.

The Beatles (1960 - 1970): British rock band.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827): German composer.

James Cook (1728-1779): English explorer.

Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882): English naturalist.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955): German-born physicist.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948): Indian peace activist.

Helen Keller (1880 - 1968): American blind and deaf writer.

Martin Luther King, Jr(1929 - 1968): Civil rights activist.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865): President United States.

Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013): Anti-apartheid campaigner.

J K Rowling (1965 - ): British author.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616): English playwright & poet.

Vincent Van Gogh (1853 - 1890): Dutch painter.

Queen Elizabeth II (1926 - 2022): Queen of England.

Billie Eilish (2001-): Singer.

Greta Thunberg (2003-): Swedish climate activist.

Malala Yousafzai (1997-): Pakistani human rights activist and youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Tips: When looking for info on a famous person we always recommend trying to find their official website first, as the information is likely to be more accurate than fan sites.

General websites

These websites have lots of information about famous people from all over the world.


Infoplease is a reference and learning site, combining the contents of an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas and several almanacs loaded with statistics, facts, and historical records.

  • Search for a famous person.

  • Or go to the tab Browse at the top of the page.

  • Under People go to People Overview.

  • Browse biographies by letter or by type eg Arts & Entertainment.

Encyclopedia of World Biography

A biography is the story of someone's life written by someone else. This website is good if you are looking for information about famous American actors, musicians, writers, presidents and more.

  • Use the search box to find the famous person you are looking for.

  • Or browse the lists of famous people under the letters of the alphabet.

Tips: You will need to check the information found here against other sources as there is no 'about' link to tell us who is responsible for this website.

EPIC resources

EPIC is a collection of online resources that have been put together especially for New Zealand school students. The two resources below have lots of information on famous people.

Biography (Gale In Context)

This is a great site for information about famous people around the world. As well as biographies, it includes videos, audio recordings, and images of past and present famous people.

  • Search for your famous person using the search box.

  • Or go to Browse People to find a list.

  • Under Topics choose a category eg Environmentalists or Singers.

  • When you select a name there will be an Overview and other information like biographies, images, and articles.

Britannica School

Britannica School has a whole section on Biographies.

  • Start by choosing Middle.

  • Search for a famous person or select Biographies.

  • Use the options on the left to have fewer results eg Era for time period and Known for.

  • In the article, change the Reading level at the top of the page if you want more or less information.

Tips: To use the EPIC resources you will need a login and password from your school librarian or you can login into AnyQuestions between 1pm and 6pm Monday to Friday and one of our librarians will help you online.


Famous people are often in the news. Even if they are no longer living, they may be remembered on the anniversary of their death.

BBC News

A great place to find information on current events and news from around the world is the BBC website.

  • Use the search box at the top right of the page to search for your famous person.

Tips: It’s worth checking out what other major news sites have on famous people too: CNN (USA), PBS NewsHour (USA), and ABC News (Australia). They will all have links to world news.


New Zealand news service that airs on television channel 1, it covers news as it happens, sports highlights, world news, entertainment and weather updates.

  • Enter the name of a famous person in the search bar.


Your school or local public library will have lots of books on famous people. Here are some suggested titles:

SCIS no: 1850784

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