Famous people with LD and AD/HD
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By GreatSchools Staff
- Richard Branson is an enormously successful entrepreneur and founder of 150 enterprises that carry the Virgin name, such as Virgin Airlines.
- John T. Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, has revolutionized the technology industry and is recognized as one of the most fascinating business leaders of our times.
- Barbara Corcoran, founder of one of New York City's largest residential real estate agencies, wrote the book Use What You've Got and Other Business Lessons I Learned From My Mom.
- Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish founder and chair of IKEA stores, claims he adapted the inner workings of his business to compensate for his dyslexia.
- David Neeleman, founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airways, started his first airline while he was still in college.
- Paul Orfalea is the founder and chairperson of Kinko's, an international, billion-dollar copy service company.
- Charles Schwab is the founder, chair, and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation, the largest brokerage firm in the United States. He also has dyslexia.
- Diane Swonk is senior managing director and chief economist for Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, one of the nation's largest banks.
- James Levoy Sorenson is a Utah entrepreneur who brings his talents to a wide range of ventures.
- Donald Winkler, business author and former CEO of Ford Financial, has inspired businesses to overcome obstacles to success. He actively supports individuals with LD.
Community advocates and activists
- Erin Brockovich, the inspiration for the movie of the same name, now runs her own environmental consulting firm and is a popular public speaker.
- Dexter Scott King, the son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is president and CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, GA. His memoir, Growing Up King, was published in 2003.
- Valli Kugler, Miss Tennessee 2002, who set up a summer camp for children with learning disabilities when she was a student at the University of Tennessee, used the pageant as a platform to increase understanding of LD.
- Kelly McCorkle, legislative correspondent for Representative Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), is a former Miss South Carolina who made learning disabilities part of her pageant platform.
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.