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Famous people with LD and AD/HD

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By GreatSchools Staff

Business leaders

Community advocates and activists

Entertainers and celebrities

  • Princess Beatrice of England, daughter of Prince Andrew and fifth in line to the throne, speaks out about dyslexia.
  • Daniel Bedingfield, a British pop star and composer, recorded his first hit record in his bedroom.
  • Singer Tony Bennett, best known for his hits Rags to Riches, Fly Me to the Moon, and I Left My Heart in San Francisco, is a 2005 Kennedy Center honoree and the recipient of 15 Grammy Awards.
  • Orlando Bloom, a popular English actor, played Legolas, the elf warrior, in the film Lord of the Rings.
  • Cher, an Academy Award-winning actress, is also well-known for her pop music and 1970s hit TV variety show. (Source: Barbara Walters Special excerpted in Everybody Has a Song, 2001.)
  • Patrick Dempsey's 25-year acting career includes leads in the films Sweet Home Alabama and Scream 3. He currently stars in the television medical drama Grey's Anatomy.
  • Danny Glover, an acclaimed actor, has used his celebrity status to advance many community programs and worthy causes, such as AIDS awareness in South Africa and the advancement of minority youth. (Source: On a Roll — Talk Radio about Life and Disability, October 29, 1999)
  • Whoopi Goldberg is an actress and comedian who has used her stardom to raise money to eliminate homelessness.
  • Brian Grazer, a successful producer of movies such as A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, recalls his personal struggle with dyslexia. (Source: Christian Science Monitor, January 4, 2002.)
  • Actor Woody Harrelson rose to fame as Woody on the hit TV series Cheers. His movie career includes many starring roles and an Academy Award nomination.
  • Salma Hayek is a Mexican-born actress who coproduced and starred in the film Frida, about artist Frida Kahlo.
  • English film actress Keira Knightley starred in Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean and played Guinevere in the film King Arthur.
  • Jay Leno is a popular comedian and late-night talk show host.
  • Brad Little, star of the Cincinnati production of Phantom of the Opera, also works to preserve African wildlife.
  • Steve McQueen, one of the most emulated actors of all time, had dyslexia. 
  • Jamie Oliver, Britain's "Naked Chef", whose programs appears on the Food Network, is known for his lively personality and easy-to-prepare recipes.
  • Edward James Olmos is a celebrated actor, entrepreneur, and activist who supports and advocates for Latino culture in the United States.
  • Joe Pantoliano, a television actor who appeared on The Sopranos, survived life on the streets as a kid.
  • Celebrity designer Ty Pennington was diagnosed with AD/HD as a teenager and now talks openly and publicly about his experience managing the disorder. He wants to "help other kids and families understand that there are people out there ready to help them and that it's possible to live a productive life with AD/HD."
  • Suzanne Somers is an actress and Las Vegas entertainer who has also become a successful entrepreneur.
  • British singer Joss Stone talks openly about having dyslexia.
  • Vince Vaughn is a movie actor who starred in The Break-Up, Wedding Crashers, Thumbsucker.
  • Lindsay Wagner, most famous for her title role on the hit 1970s TV series Bionic Woman, has dedicated much of her time to raising awareness about learning difficulties.
  • Henry Winkler, also known as "The Fonz" from the hit TV series Happy Days, is a producer, author, Yale graduate, and children's advocate.

Comments from readers

"i luve this it tells so much!!! "
"gud list!! "
"this was a very interesting:) "
"Hello... one of the greatest minds this world has ever known was a severe dyslexic - ALBERT EINSTEIN! His dyslexia was so bad that he had to paint his front door bright red so that he could find his house (no joke!). The guy could get lost in a paper bag - but he was by far one of the most amazing scientists and mathematicians the 20th century has ever known. Also, the dearly departed Stephen J. Cannel – novel, TV, and screen writer. "
"My son has a great time reading through this list. He realizes he is not the only one, and said "I could do any of these things!". Thank you so much for compiling this list. "
"@ 03/10/2010: Women with ADHD : Salma Hayek (on this list aswell), Liv Tyler, Karina Smirnoff, Scout Taylor-Compton, Hilary Duff, Madeline Zima, Emma Watson."
"I have a learning disability and it was cool to see that many people who are very successful became successful even though they are living with a learning disability"
"As an ADHD adult Special Ed teacher I LOVE feeling like I belong to a community. I know how my students feel when the meds are missed. My students struggle to belong, as I always did."
"WHERE are the FAMOUS WOMEN with adhd or learning disabilities?????? I am looking for role models for my daughter."
"this whole web site could be done alot better and you need 2 add more people on here that have a learning disablitys u was not @ much help 2 me sorry and ty 4 ur time"
"I'm a retired teacher, but I taught children with dyslexia for several years. I used a program called 'Sounds in Syllables' and the children made grreat progress in reading, writing and spelling. They can learn to read, but it takes time and patience."
"Isnt is sad that so many are disquallified as intelligent because of societies need to punnish illiteracy.All Stars and then some on this List magnificent!"
"I really do love this, I now feel better about myself, and its good to know that even famous people have learing problems too. thanks "
"Henry Winkler (the Fonz or Arthur Fonzarelli) also writes books for children. His 'Hank Zipzer' series is for grades 3 - 5 and deals with a young boy with learning disabilities. Good series, looks like quite a few. They're funny and definitely on the level for that age group. Here's the character's website if anyone's interested: Does state that Henry too dealt with learning issues. "
"I love this this list! But I don't think it is necessary to label children as LD and/or AD/HD. They way I see it, every child has genius, but schools are only concerned with academic success. If a child does not measure up academically, then they are put to shame and given a label. The good news is that academic success and success in the real world are two different things, and anyone is capable of the latter, regardless of how they did in school. Every person on this list is fortunate that they had enough confidence in themselves, despite their failures in school. Many students in similar situations would simply believe what they are told - that they will fail because of their academic lack, and thus not even try. So many more children would be better off if they were appreciated for the genius that they have, rather than put to shame for the genius they don't. -Heather Martinson"
"This is a fabulous list, many thanks for compiling it. "
"its amazing all the knowlege I can find on this page.....I work for kids with disabilities....and help me a lot in my labor.thanks.. by the way I read all the famous people you got here you know Joss Stone (sensation famous british singer) is dislexic? could you add her on your list? thanks a lot"