Famous People with Disabilities

Disabled Marathon Runner

If you have a disability, you’re not alone: many famous and influential people, from singers and actors to politicians and scientists, were born with or developed disabilities, both mental and physical.

One of the foremost scientific minds in the world is just as well-known for his disability as for the brilliant theories he developed in spite of it. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and, although it has since taken his ability to walk or speak without the aid of a computer, he has written extensively about time, relativity, and quantum mechanics, even simplifying them for the non-scientists out there with books like A Brief History of Time.

David Beckham, one of the biggest names in soccer, suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as does Leonardo DiCaprio. Beckham’s manifests itself in a need for cleanliness and order, while DiCaprio has tics such as an urge to step on sidewalk stains or go through a door repeatedly.

One of the most famous Americans with disabilities was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, despite suffering from paralysis as a result of the polio he contracted from contaminated water, led the country through World War II and the Great Depression. He hid the extent of his physical disability from the American public while in office, but continued with his presidential duties throughout.

Stevie Wonder was born blind as result of his six weeks-premature birth, which did not allow for complete development of his eyes. Stevie was first signed to a record label at the tender age of 11 years old and has continued to make incredible music that thrills millions of people ever since.

A number of famous people suffer from dyslexia – even many who have made a living at things that require a lot of reading. Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Anderson Cooper, Kiera Knightley, Jamie Oliver, Orlando Bloom, Alexander Graham Bell, and Magic Johnson are just a small group of examples. Their difficulties with reading don’t stop them from reading scripts, writing, researching, or becoming the best at what they do.


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