Can You Name These Famous Lefties?

Bambi Turner

Image: Wiki Commons by 20th Century Fox

About This Quiz

OK, southpaws, don't be offended, but the official term for a person who is left-handed is sinistromanual or sinistral ... and it's just what it sounds like. The word comes from the Latin word "sinister," which strictly means "left" but is now associated more with the word "unlucky" or just plain "bad." A 2015 article in Time magazine points out that lefties in the Middle Ages were at risk of being labeled witches, and even in the 20th century, left-handed children were retrained to use their right hands to avoid "feeble-mindedness," according to a 2011 article in the medical journal "The Lancet." A 2013 study published in the journal "Endeavor" found that just 1 percent of Chinese students admit to being left-hand dominant, because the trait is seen as such a negative stigma, even to this day.

So what's a leftie to do? Well, they could take comfort in the fact that huge numbers of famous people are also southpaws. This includes a surprising percentage of U.S. Presidents, Hollywood stars, musicians, sports legends and some of the smartest scientific and business minds who ever lived. Now who's feeble-minded? 

Think you can identify some of the most famous lefties of all-time? Prove it by acing this quiz!

Number 44 used his left hand to write about the audacity of hope. Can you remember his name?

Born in Hawaii in 1961, Barack Obama became a successful attorney before serving as a U.S. Senator from Illinois. In 2008, he became the first African-American President in U.S. history. During his two terms, he repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, allowing openly gay service members in the military. He will also be remembered for his efforts at passing the Affordable Care Act to extend health coverage to a wider population.

Name the left-handed Microsoft co-founder who later switched from computers to philanthropy.

Southpaw Bill Hates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 and transformed it into the largest computer company in the world within a decade. By the '90s, he had become the world's richest man, a title he held through 2017. After largely retiring from Microsoft in 2000, Gates focused on charitable causes, such as eradicating malaria and other health crises around the globe.

He flipped a right-handed guitar over and restrung it and managed to become a music legend. Can you name this '60s icon?

Jimi Hendrix honed his skill strumming a broomstick and then using a ukulele he found in the trash. It wasn't until he was 15 that he got his first guitar ... a right-handed instrument he restrung so he could strum with his left hand. After headlining Woodstock in '69, Hendrix died of an overdose in 1970 at the age of 27.

The Great Bambino. The Sultan of Swat. No matter what you call this baseball player born George Herman, don't forget he was a lefty. Know his name?

Babe Ruth was a left-handed batter and pitcher who ranks among the best players to ever step foot on a diamond, even more than half a century after his death. He won seven World Series and set hitting records that wouldn't be broken for decades during his 20 seasons with the Red Sox and Yankees in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s.

This southpaw rose from poverty in Mississippi to become a media mogul with her own TV network starting in 2008. Who is she?

Oprah was a poor girl from the South who suffered a failed pregnancy as a teen, then went on to become a TV news anchor before her 20th birthday. She hosted "The Oprah Winfrey Show" from 1986 to 2011 and even launched her own network in 2008. On top of everything else, Winfrey managed to earn an Oscar nod for her role in "The Color Purple."

Who is this lefty, who dropped out of Harvard to focus on a little project he called Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg launched social-media behemoth Facebook from his Harvard dorm in 2004. By 2007, he was a billionaire at 23. And don't feel sorry that Mark never got his diploma because he dropped out to focus on Facebook; Harvard gave him an honorary degree in 2017.

First man on the moon Neil Armstong was left-handed, as is this individual, who walked just behind Armstrong on that historic day in '69.

Buzz Aldrin was a mechanical engineer from West Point who served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force and got a Doctor of Science degree from MIT. Oh, and he was also the second human to ever step foot on the moon, just a few minutes after Neil Armstrong took one small step on July 21, 1969.

Born Frances Ethel Gumm, name this actress who sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as she cradled Toto in her left arm.

Judy Garland was a bona fide child star in the 1930s and a lefty to boot. She starred as Dorothy in the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" and played opposite Mickey Rooney in several Andy Hardy flicks. Garland hosted her own TV show in the 1960s and also won a Grammy for her album "Judy at Carnegie Hall."

Name this left-handed star of "Maleficent" and daughter of Jon Voight.

Angelina got her big break with "Girl, Interrupted," which nabbed her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1999. She went on to play a tough treasure hunter in "Tomb Raider" and star opposite future hubby Brad Pitt in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." She also found time to become mom to six kids.

Norma Jean Dougherty was making drone aircraft during WWII when she was discovered. Can you name this left-handed legend?

Norma Jean changed her name to Marilyn Monroe when she hit Hollywood, starring in '50s films like "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "The Seven Year Itch." Fun fact: Hugh Hefner used nude pictures of Monroe that he purchased to launch the very first issue of Playboy in 1953.

OK, this guy was left handed, but he wasn't all that short. Can you name this infamous French leader?

Bonaparte may have been left-handed, but the rumors about his height are wrong; he was normal height or a bit taller for his time. After climbing to power during the French Revolution, Napoleon named himself Emperor of France in 1804 and hung on for 10 years before he was exiled.

Do you know the name of this writer and activist who faced some monumental challenges throughout her life?

An illness left Helen Keller blind and deaf at age 2, but the remarkable Anne Sullivan taught her to communicate well enough that Keller eventually graduated from Radcliffe. She went on to establish the ACLU and to meet a whopping 12 presidents, from Cleveland to Kennedy.

Identify this action star who played a Vietnam vet and a boxer trying to take the title.

Sylvester Stallone was landing those left hooks a little harder than the right ones as the title character in the "Rocky" flicks. He also starred as a PSTD-plagued vet in the Rambo films, starting with "First Blood" in 1982.

He was a lefty who was also a true Renaissance man, known for both his art and inventions. Can you name him?

Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1452 to 1519 and is best remembered today for works like "The Last Supper," "Mona Lisa" and the Vitruvian Man. Some historians suggest he worked left-handed but wasn't born that way. There's some evidence that he was right-handed as a youth but was forced to learn to work left-handed after damaging his dominant hand.

She was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, but can you name this legendary scientist?

Marie Curie may have had to modify her lab instruments a bit to accommodate being left-handed, but that didn't stop her from earning two Nobel Prizes. The first came in 1903 for her work with radioactivity, while the second came in 1911 when she discovered polonium, which she named for her home country of Poland.

Remember which cartoon character opened his very own left-handed store called the Leftorium?

"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is a lefty, so it's no surprise he made Simpson neighbor Ned Flanders a southpaw as well. Sadly, Ned's time as owner of the Leftorium was tough thanks to competition from Leftopolis, which was located right next door.

This singer took us on a Space Odyssey and then became Ziggy Stardust. Think you can name him?

David Robert Jones started off performing as Davy Jones, but he didn't want to be confused with a Monkee, so he changed his name to David Bowie. Eventually, this lefty became a revolutionary musical star, and he also took part in films like "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and "Labyrinth."

Stefani Germanotta is her birth name, but you probably know this singer and actress better by her stage name. Know what it is?

Lady Gaga wrote songs for Britney Spears and other pop acts before hitting it big with her debut album "The Fame." Hits like "Poker Face" and "Just Dance" dominated the airwaves for this left-handed superstar, who won an Oscar for her song "Shallow," written for the 2018 film "A Star is Born."

Everyone knows Paul McCartney played the bass left-handed, but can you identify the southpaw drummer for The Beatles?

Richard Starkey became Ringo Starr when he took up with a little act called The Beatles in 1962. He was left-handed, but he played a right-handed drum setup on songs like "Help" and "A Hard Day's Night."

Know which British royal married Kate Middleton in 2011 and happens to be a lefty like his father?

Prince William of Wales became the Duke of Cambridge when he married Kate Middleton in 2011. Left-handed like his father Prince Charles, William graduated from St. Andrew's in Scotland before spending time in the Royal Air Force in his 20s.

Name this TV actor who starred in a show about nothing from 1989 to 1998 before taking a break and making a movie about a cartoon bee.

Left-hander Jerry Seinfeld was one of the biggest TV stars of the '90s thanks to the success of "Seinfeld." In 2007, the actor took a different direction with "A Bee Movie," then returned to his roots with the series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

Do you know which "Pretty Woman" picked up an Oscar for the 2001 movie "Erin Brockovich?"

Julia Roberts had Richard Gere wrapped around her little finger ... on her left hand, of course ... in the 1990 film "Pretty Woman." She spent the rest of the decade starring in rom-coms like "Notting Hill" and "Runaway Bride," before taking a part in the "Ocean's" movies in the 2000s.

As President 42, this left-hander signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and engaged in a scandalous affair that almost cost him his job.

Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas before being elected as the 42nd U.S. President in 1993. This left-handed Commander in Chief had highs and lows during his two-terms, from a thriving economy to a scandal that led to his impeachment proceedings.

She'll be there for you ... Who is this left-handed "Friends" actress most famous for the smash hit "Smelly Cat?"

Lisa Kudrow played the quirky Phoebe, and her twin sister Ursula, on the 1990s series "Friends." While strumming her way through songs like "Smelly Cat" at Central Perk, Phoebe typically played an acoustic guitar, which Kudrow herself would have had to play with her dominant left-hand.

Born Milton Teagle, which southpaw fitness guru had people "Sweatin' to the Oldies?"

After losing 100 pounds, Richard Simmons became such a fitness fanatic that he started his own gym, Slimmons, in Los Angeles. He's kept the weight off for decades, helping countless others get fit while sporting his trademark tanks and Dolphin shorts as he sweated to Oldies hits.

Identify this lefty, who slid across the floor in his underwear in "Risky Business" in 1983, kicking off a hugely successful movie career.

Tom Cruise became a Hollywood Superstar in the 1980s thanks to "Risky Business" and "Top Gun," but some of his best films were still to come. The left-handed actor starred in both "Jerry McGuire" and "Mission: Impossible" in 1996 and has continued to land leading roles through the 2010s.

If he had to whitewash a fence, he'd mostly use his left hand. Can you name this iconic American author?

Mark Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri and later took a job driving riverboats down the Mighty Mississippi. He worked at a newspaper before writing and publishing beloved novels like "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1876 and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1884.

He didn't invent the car, but this legendary businessman sure did make it easier for people to own one. Can you name this lefty?

Henry Ford started his auto company in 1903 and introduced the Model T in 1908. The southpaw was smart enough to pay workers enough to buy his cars and also to use an assembly line to produce a car every 24 seconds. By 1927, he had sold more than 15 million vehicles.

It's all relative, but who knows whether this iconic physicist would have been so successful if he hadn't been born a southpaw. Do you recognize him?

Lefty Albert Einstein was so smart that his last name became a synonym for genius. He developed his theory of relatively and the groundbreaking formula E=MC2. After marrying the only woman in his university physics classes, Mileva Maric, he used his prize money from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 to divorce her and marry his second wife.

Her heart will go on, no matter which hand she holds her mic in. Can you name the left-handed singer who sang the theme song from "Titanic?"

Celine Dion was an '80s pop star in Canada. One of 14 kids, she was just an infant when they toured as Dion's Family. A pair of 1990s albums featuring hits like "My Heart Will Go On" and "The Power of Love" made her an international superstar.

Before getting into politics, this left-handed legend was a successful Hollywood star. Think you can name him?

Ronald Reagan was a poor boy from Illinois who became a Hollywood actor, then went on to become Governor of California in 1967. He was the oldest President to ever take office when he was inaugurated in 1981 at the age of 69, until Donald Trump moved into the White House at the age of 70. Reagan and Trump are also the only divorcees to ever serve as Commander in Chief.

Who is this quarterback who managed to succeed despite being a a lefty and a backup to Joe Montana?

Steve Young spent 13 seasons with the 49'ers between 1987 and 1999. Despite playing as Joe Montana's backup, this lefty was able to shine, winning three Super Bowls and being named MVP at Super Bowl XXIX. He was only the second left-handed QB to ever win the big game, after Ken Stabler did so in 1975.

Nicknamed "The Great One," can you name this hockey legend who handled his stick left-handed?

Wayne Gretzky has one of the most incredible records in the sport of hockey, and he did it all as a southpaw. During his 20 seasons in the NHL, Gretzky became the first player to ever score more than 200 points in a single season, then went on to do it a total of four times. His number 99 jersey was retired league-wide when he left the sport to honor his legacy.

Around 2010, this singer could claim to have the most-watched video on YouTube thanks to his song "Baby." Know his name?

Justin Bieber was a 'tween making his own videos of cover songs when he was discovered on YouTube. His 2009 album "My World" made him a teen idol, and he was one of the youngest people ever to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. If you love this lefty, count yourself among his many Beliebers.

When she starred in "Sister Act 2," she was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. Remember the name of this left-handed star?

Whoopi Goldberg is among a select group of EGOTs, or entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Goldberg got her big break in 1985 thanks to "The Color Purple," and she later picked up her Academy Award playing a psychic in "Ghost."

This left-hander, who was Prime Minister of the U.K. during WWII, is remembered for some of the most iconic war speeches of all time. Think you can identify him?

Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the U.K. during one of its darkest hours: the WWII years of 1940 through 1945. Today, this southpaw is often remembered for his iconic speeches, including "We shall fight on the beaches," "Blood, toil, tears and sweat," and "Their finest hour." If you've never heard of them, look up these quotes and prepare to be seriously impressed.

She was one of the best tennis players of all time, but do you know the name of this left-handed sports icon?

Born in the Czech Republic, Martina Navratilova defected to the U.S. early in her career. She won Wimbledon a record nine times between 1978 and 1990. One of her greatest victories may be in publicly announcing that she was gay in 1981, back when such a declaration wasn't nearly as well accepted as it would be a few decades later.

Sculptor of David and painter of the Sistine Chapel, who is this left-handed Renaissance man?

No, Michelangelo didn't lie on his back to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but he was in uncomfortable positions while working, and he did paint with his dominant left hand. This incredible artist is also remembered for a fresco known as "The Last Judgement," as well as the sculptures of David and Pieta.

He plays the guitar right-handed but writes with his left. Do you know the name of this "Highway 61 Revisited" musician?

Bob Dylan might just be the most well-known folk singer of all time. A lefty who plays his guitar right-handed, he was a pivotal figure in the 1960s music scene thanks to "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," and he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 for his contributions to songwriting.

He played Vito Corleone in "The Godfather: Part II." Who is this left-hander who also starred in "Goodfellas?"

Robert De Niro earned an Oscar for his work in "The Godfather: Part II" and later for his roll in the 1980 classic "Raging Bull." You might also recognize this iconic performer from films like "Taxi Driver" or "Cape Fear."

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes