the profession of John Wilkes Booth

Help me out here SD people! I was playing the on-line version of “Who Wants to be a Millionare” when I got this question :
What was the profession of assasin John Wilkes Booth ?" Answer D was “Actor”. Now being a Civil War buff I know the Booth did Shakespeare, and in fact knew Fords Theater very well because of this. So I answered “D”, whereupon I was informed I was wrong. Utilizing the “continue game” function I discovered the correct answer according to the Millionare staff was “tavern owner”. Huh ? Is it I or they who are wrong about this ? Help me out here, I would never claim to be a know-it-all, but I was very very certain on this one. Is it my mistake or theirs ?

“Solos Dios basta”

  1. I have a deep and abiding dislike for the online version of Millionaire after it told me that Micheangelo sculped “Ths Kiss.” I am a big Rodin fan, have travelled to the Rodin museum in Philadelphia, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was Rodin.

  2. I also have been hosed by the call-in qualifying process. First twp times I thought I just miskeyed (and maybe I did). Third time I was playing on a phone with a digital display, so I could see what I keyed… and the question was putting things in alphabetical order, so there wasn’t any debate on what the right answer should be.

  3. John Wilkes Booth was an actor.

  • Rick

JW was definitely an actor. His father and brother were both famous Shakespearean actors (I believe the brother was named Junius Brutus). JW was a big enough ham to quote from “Julius Caesar” while on stage after offing Old Abe.

I thought his famous statement at the time was “Sic semper tyrannis” (Thus ever to tyrants), the motto of the state of Virginia. I’m not aware that this is from “Julius Caeser”.

“To do her justice, I can’t see that she could have found anything nastier to say if she’d thought it out with both hands for a fortnight.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
Busman’s Honeymoon

JWB was an actor, and it was his father that was Junius Brutus Booth. His brother was Edwin.

And thanks for yet another reason to dislike the concept of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”.

::‘tavern owner’. . .who came up with that nonsense?::

Flick Lives!

pluto–it’s both.

Read Gene Smith’s “American Gothic,” a bio of the Booths that came out about 8 years ago—incredible, fascinating book! One of the best bios ever.

John Wilkes Booth was the, ummm . . . I guess George Clooney of his day? Matinee idol-type. Not quite as big a star as his brother Edwin, but still a major heart-throb.


are you sure?

all I can find is Cinna’s line: “Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!”, right after Caesar is killed (Act III, i, 78).

Or am I looking in the wrong spot?

and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel to toe

My search of the text of Julius Caesar failed to find the phrase “sic semper tyrannis”. A web search on the phrase found a newsgroup message which suggested it might be a quotation from “Plutarch’s Lives”, which was Shakespeare’s source for the play. A search of the text of Plutarch didn’t turn it up but I was searching an English translation for the word tyrant. The word appears roughly a gazillion times but never in a phrase I recognized as traceable to the Latin.

There’s some controversy about what JWB said after shooting Lincoln. Some said it was “Sic semper tyrannis”, but others thought it was “The South is Avenged!” Jeez, the guy commits the first assasination in U.S. politics, turns to the crowd to say some immortal words, and then mumbles them :rolleyes:.

–It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

Well, he did break his leg on the leap to the stage from the Presidential box - so his immortal words probably were delivered through clenched teeth.

My sister read an article about the Millionaire show in People. Apparently, these errors crop up in the TV version, too, but they edit out the ones they’ve screwed up and give the contestant a new question. And they always blame the computer for the mistakes.

Mary Surratt, who was convicted as a co-conspirator and hanged – was the tavern owner, so I guess they just got their facts a little confused, eh?

It kind of makes sense to me. Everyone I’ve ever met behind a bar claimed, “I’m really an actor.”

< d&r >

Livin’ on Tums, vitamin E and Rogaine

pluto–I think you’re right. I must be confusing my sources. I know I read that “sic semper tyrannis” was used in conjunction with Julius Caesar somewhere.

Well, Guy, I’m sure you know that those are the words attributed to Brutus when he stabbed Julius Caesar. Caesar is then quoted as having said “tu quoque, mi fili” = “you too, my son” since Brutus was his adopted son.

Arnold- IIRC, Caesar said “Et tu, Brute?” which was Greek for “And you, Brutus?”

In addition, Brutus was not Caesar’s adopted son (that was Gaius Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew, who later took the name Augustus); but there were rumors that Brutus had in fact been Caesar’s illegitimate son. Caesar was well-noted for his affairs, and had been linked with Servilius, Brutus’ mother, in the general period when Brutus was likely conceived.


This could be YOUR sig line! For just five cents a post, JMCJ Enterprises will place YOUR sig line at the bottom of each message!

Arnold–yep, I knew that. Read it in Shakespeare, “The 12 Caesars”, and “I, Claudius.”

John, it seems improbable to me that Julius Caesar, lifelong ROMAN, emperor of ROME, about to be stabbed IN ROME, would reach for the Greek language at such a moment. Your translation of the words is correct, but the language was, of course, Latin.

I don’t know why fortune smiles on some and lets the rest go free…


John Corrado, I guess I’ll have to check in my Suetonius tonight (for Brutus not being an adopted son.) As far as “tu quoque mi fili” vs. “et tu, Brute” I remember in latin class hearing that there was a dispute over the exact words of J.C. I’ll check my Suetonius (if I can find it) for that also.

Tbone2: Greek was a very common language for most of the Mediterrenean since Alexander’s conquests centuries before- sort of as Latin was a common language in Europe after the fall of Rome.

All educated Romans of Caesar’s time were well trained in Greek language and Greek culture, and Hellophilia was very rampant in the Roman aristocracy- anything Greek was good.

Any Roman politican worth his salt would have been just as versed in Greek as he was in Latin, and to make such a strong accusation/statement as Caesar did- well, to make it in Greek would carry more weight (it was more ‘classy’ and ‘sophisticated’, as it were).

I don’t disagree that he could have spoken it in Latin- the records of the times were notoriously spotty and biased- but it’s not any more unlikely that he would have made his ‘J’Accuse!’ in Greek.

Two further notes, just to elucidate- Caesar did not die instantly or get taken down with only a brief chance for final words; he fought like a wildcat with his attackers, and mortally wounded one of them (Caesar stabbed him through the eye with the only weapon he had on hand- his stylus).

Second, Caesar was not Emporer. The title did not exist at that time, and would not exist until Augustus (though I can’t recall if Augustus ever used the title). Caesar was Dictator For Life. You may think that’s a quibble, but given that Caesar was assassinated because it was thought he wanted to become an Emporer of Rome, you can see why it’s a bit of a mistake.


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