I would like to use a lot of famous people data in a project. Is there a dataset with famous people? Like artists, musicians, politicians, etc.
Freebase - Freebase is a large source of useful, structured data around lot of different categories. When you search for person in google, the result on left side is shown by Google's knowledge graph which is powered by Freebase.
For people search you can checkout, - http://www.freebase.com/people
Looks like there was a research project called Pantheon that compiled such a dataset, which is available here: https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/28201
Sort/filter by PageViewsEnglish if you want names particularly recognizable to English speakers. Among other things, it seems like a good source if you want to populate something with random "real" names while still making it very obvious that the data is fake.
Note for anyone using Excel or Access: the TSV file they offer is encoded in UTF-8, but Excel and Access 2010 don't seem to automatically recognize that, so in order to have accented characters display correctly you have to manually specify UTF-8 as the Encoding for the file when doing the "import from text file" process in either program. In my experience, Access seemed to have an easier time importing their TSV, and from there you can easily export an Excel file if that's all you want.