List Of 30 Famous People With Disabilities (Learning or Physical):
#1 Andrea Bocelli
He is an Italian songwriter, singer, and record producer. One of Andrea’s first breaks came in 1992 when he recorded a demo tape of “Miserere.”
Andrea Bocelli was born with congenital glaucoma (caused by incorrect development of the eye’s drainage system before birth) which left him partially blind.
#2 Helen Keller
She was an American author and educator who was deaf and blind. Actually, she was the first blind and deaf person to earn a college degree.
#3 Daniel Radcliffe
He is an English producer and actor who is best known for his role in the Harry Potter film series.
Daniel Radcliffe has dyspraxia, a common neurological problem which impairs the organization of movement.
#4 Ludwig van Beethoven
He was a German pianist and composer who remains one of the most influential and recognized composers in the world. Beethoven’s best-known compositions include:
- an opera, Fidelio;
- a mass, the Missa Solemnis;
- 16 string quartets;
- 32 piano sonatas;
- 1 violin concerto;
- 5 piano concertos;
- 9 symphonies.
Interestingly, some of his most important works were composed during the last decade of his life, when Ludwig van Beethoven was quite unable to hear.
#5 Christy Brown
He was an Irish painter and writer who was able to write or type only with the toes of one foot. Brown’s most recognized work is My Left Foot – his autobiography.
Christy Brown was challenged with cerebral palsy (a group of permanent movement disorders which occur in early childhood).
#6 Tanni Grey Thompson
She is a Welsh television presenter, politician, and former wheelchair racer. Tanny has won more than 20 medals in the Paralympic Games as a wheelchair racer.
Tanni Grey Thompson has spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect.
#7 Ty Pennington
He is an American artist, television host, carpenter, philanthropist, author, and former actor and model.
Ty Pennington was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as an undergrad.
#8 Michael J. Fox
He is a Canadian-American comedian, author, actor, and film producer who starred in the Back to the Future trilogy.
In 1991, Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was just 29 years old.
#9 Stephen Hawking
He was an English cosmologist, theoretical physicist, and author who is best known for his attempts to explain in clear terms some of the most complicated aspects of the physics and cosmos and the origins of the universe.
In early 1963, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles.
Hawking had been paralyzed from head to toe for over three decades and used a wheelchair which he operated through slight movements of the eyes and head, and a voice synthesizer to be able to communicate.
#10 Millie Bobby Brown
She is an English model and actress who is best known for her breakout role as Eleven in Netflix’s ”Stranger Things.”
Hearing herself perform can be a challenge as Millie Bobby Brown is deaf in one ear.
#11 Marlee Matlin
She is an American author, actress, and activist who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God.
Due to a genetically malformed cochlea, Marlee Matlin has been deaf since she was 18 months old.
#12 Keira Knightley
She is a popular British model and actress who gained fame for her roles in:
- Love Actually;
- Pride & Prejudice;
- Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 2018, Knightley joined the cast of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
At age 6, Keira Knightley was diagnosed with dyslexia.
#13 Lady Gaga
She is an American performance artist and singer-songwriter who is best known for her provocative lyrics, flamboyant costumes, and strong vocal talents.
Lady Gaga was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a medical condition that is characterized by a heightened pain response to pressure and chronic widespread pain.
#14 Tom Cruise
He is an American actor and filmmaker. Tom was just 21 when he landed his breakthrough role in Risky Business film. Furthermore, Cruise has won 3 Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards.
Tom Cruise is dyslexic.
#15 Ralph Braun
He was the founder and CEO of the Braun Corporation. Ralph Braun was born with muscular dystrophy, a disease which results in a breakdown of skeletal muscles.
#16 John Nash
He was an American mathematician. His theories have proven to be very useful in many different fields like:
- artificial intelligence;
- market economics.
John Nash’s whole life was marked by acute paranoid schizophrenia.
#17 Teal Sherer
She is an American actress who was a member of Full Radius Dance. Teal Sherer is best known for portraying herself in her own series “My Gimpy Life” and Venom in the web series The Guild.
At the age of 14, a car accident injured Sherer’s back so severely that she lost the capacity to use her legs.
Currently, she is an advocate for the inclusion of performers with disabilities in the entertainment industry.
#18 Rick Hansen
He is a wheelchair racer, Paralympian, and humanitarian. In 2006, Rick was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Rick Hansen suffered from a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down.
#19 Robin Williams
He was an American actor who is best known for his performance in the movie ”Good Will Hunting.”
Robin Williams was diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder, and depression.
#20 Sudha Chandran
She is a successful Bharatanatyam dancer and an Indian television and film actress.
After a terrible accident, Sudha Chandran had her right leg amputated.
#21 Cory Lee
She is a Canadian actress and singer-songwriter who is most noted for playing in the television series Instant Star.
At the age of 2, Cory Lee was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system which controls voluntary muscle movement.
#22 Chris Burke
He is an American folk singer and actor who is best known for his character Charles “Corky” Thatcher on the series ”Life Goes On.”
Chris was the first person with Down syndrome (a chromosomal disorder which is associated with a characteristic facial appearance, intellectual disability, and weak muscle tone in infancy) to star in a weekly television series.
#23 Justin Timberlake
He is an American actor, entrepreneur, musician, and record producer who made his fortune from movies and music.
Justin Timberlake was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD.
#24 Jim Abbott
He is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played 10 seasons in MLB for the New York Yankees, California Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago White Sox.
Jim Abbott is the only player in major league baseball who was born with one hand.
#25 Frida Kahlo
She was a Mexican painter who is best known for her brilliantly colored self-portraits which deal with themes such as the human body, identity, and death.
At 6 years old, Frida Kahlo was sick with polio, leaving her right leg weaker and thinner than the other.
#26 Arunima Sinha
She was a national level volleyball player and the first female amputee to scale Mount Vinson (a large mountain massif in Antarctica) and Mount Everest.
Arunima Sinha lost her leg when a group of thugs pushed her from a moving train.
#27 Bruce Willis
He is an American producer, actor, and singer who has appeared in over 70 films.
Bruce Willis enrolled in a high school drama class as a way to overcome stuttering.
#28 Nick Vujicic
He is an Australian motivational speaker and Christian evangelist who is one of 7 known individuals who were diagnosed with the Tetra-amelia syndrome, a very rare disorder which is described by the absence of all 4 limbs.
With the support of his family, Nick Vujicic managed to graduate from Griffith University.
#29 Stevie Wonder
He is an American songwriter, musician, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He released his first album – ”The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie” at the age of 12.
His multi-generational hit songs include:
- Part-Time Lover;
- That Girl;
- Sir Duke;
- Boogie on Reggae Woman;
- Living in the City;
- You Are the Sunshine of My Life;
- My Cherie Amour.
Stevie Wonder was born with retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disorder which is usually caused by disorganized growth of retinal blood vessels that may result in retinal detachment.
His condition was exacerbated when Stevie received too much oxygen in an incubator.
#30 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
He was an American political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States. Interestingly, FDR was the only U.S. president to be elected 4 times. Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the US through World War II and the Great Depression (a severe worldwide economic depression).
In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio. The illness took his capacity to walk.