Famous people with LD and AD/HD
Could you and your child use a little inspiration? Read about famous folks who overcame the challenges of LD and AD/HD.
By GreatSchools Staff
Did you know that many successful and famous people grew up with learning disabilities (LD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD)? Actor Danny Glover, business leader Charles Schwab, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, to name a few, are all inspirations. Talk with your child about some of these successful people whose interests he shares or whose accomplishments he may admire. This will help him understand that he's not alone with his struggles and will foster hope for his future goals.
Note: You may notice that we haven't included some of the people mentioned on other lists of people suspected of having LD and/or AD/HD. While they may have struggled with certain aspects of learning, we can't confirm that they had a specific disability because they lived before these diagnostic categories came into use.
Look for information about successful people with LD and/or AD/HD, in the following categories:
Artists and artisans
- Chuck Close is one of the nation's most celebrated contemporary artists.
- Andrew Dornenberg, an award-winning chef, says that cooking "saved" him from his struggle with dyslexia.
- Sculptor Robert Graham struggled with dyslexia. His wife, actress Anjelica Huston explains, "Robert didn't realize he had a form of dyslexia until his own son was diagnosed. But Robert's artistic gift immeasurably outstripped his difficulty."
- Tommy Hilfiger is an internationally known fashion designer.
- Robert Rauschenberg was a multimedia artist who had significant influence in the world of modern art and was even called the "Picasso of the 21st century."
- Mackenzie Thorpe, a world-famous painter, urges people at an exhibit of his work to "stop looking with your eyes and see with your feelings."
- Acclaimed artist Robert Toth has had paintings, sculptures, and bronzes on display in museums throughout the world, including the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
- Acclaimed artist Willard Wigan is the creator of the smallest works of art on earth. He is emerging as the most celebrated micro-miniaturist of all time.
- Billy Blanks, a world-class martial artist and a television and movie actor, has created a foundation to promote self-sufficiency among high-risk women and children.
- Terry Bradshaw, a former NFL quarterback and now host of Fox's NFL pre-game show, wrote a book in which he reveals that he has AD/HD.
- Nate Davis, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has dyslexia.
- Scott Eyre, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants and now the Philadelphia Phillies, was diagnosed with AD/HD at age 30.
- Cammi Granato is a two-time Olympian in ice hockey and a U.S. National Women's Team member since 1990.
- Bruce Jenner, the 1976 gold medalist in the Olympic decathlon, is described as the "world's greatest athlete."
- Tim "Lumpy" Herron is a pro golfer who runs a program to teach youth about ethical leadership in a fun, engaging way.
- Chris Kaman is the center for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers.
- Hank Kuehne, a PGA star, used golf as an escape from his troubles at school.
- Mike Lorenz is a lineman for the New England Patriots.
- Greg Louganis received an Olympic gold medal in diving in the 1984 and 1988 games and advocates for AIDS awareness.
- John E. Morgan, PGA champion, was bullied as a kid because of his learning disabilities.
- Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps made history by breaking records and winning eight gold medals. He also inspired thousands by speaking candidly about having AD/HD. His mother has also been very public about telling their story.
- Jim Shea Jr. earned a gold medal competing in the skeleton (a small sled) event at the 2002 Winter Olympics, making him the first third-generation Winter Olympian in U.S. history.
- Former Olympic fencer Molly Sullivan Sliney has made it her mission to speak to students and encourage them to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. She rose above her own struggle with dyslexia to become a world-class athlete.
- Neil Smith, an NFL professional football player, is defensive end for the San Diego Chargers.
- Jackie Stewart is a race car driving champion who has been inducted into the Grand Prix Hall of Fame.