Agatha Christie – (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) Agatha Christie was the world’s best selling book writer of all times only truly surpassed by the Bible and equaled by Shakespear, her books sold approximately 4 billion copies worldwide. Agatha suffered from dyslexia but in no way did it stop her from being creative and learning how to write, her mystery novels have always been some of the most captivating of all times. Her bestselling book was without a doubt “And then there was none” which was a source of inspiration for novelists and movie makers even many years after.
Albert Einstein – (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) Being one of the most important great minds of his century Albert Einstein was then known to suffer from dyslexia mainly because of his bad memory and his constant failure to memorize the simplest of things. He would not remember the months in the year yet he would succeed in solving some of the most complicated mathematical formulas of the time without any trouble. He may have never learned how to properly tie his shoelaces but his scientific contributions and theories still have a major effect on all of todays current knowledge of science.
Alexander Graham Bell – (3 March 1847 – 2 August 1922) Well known as the inventor of the telephone Alexander was actually attempting to find a way that could make deaf people hear. His mother was slowly becoming deaf when Alexander was only 12 years old making him extremely sensitive to disabilities. Once older he was constantly seeking a way to cure them through technology. He himself had dyslexia which would cause him problems at school, but he always kept his interest for science, especially biology. He would show a great indifference for everything else and would have poor grades. Today Alexander Graham Bell is also well know as one of the founders of the National Geographic society.
Cher – (Born May 20, 1946) Cher was a fatherless child and was most of the time very poor. Her mother tried to make money by singing and acting which ultimately brought Cher to follow into her footsteps. Due to dyslexia cher decided she would quit school and try to take some acting lessons in Los Angeles to finally do what she loved. One day while at the renowned Aldo’s Coffee Shop her life changed upon meeting Sonny Bono, which was at the time successful in show business. They eventually made songs together and through fantastic duos with Sonny. The beginning of Cher’s lifetime career was at birth.
Dale S. Brown – Dale Brown is a strategic leadership consultant at Washington D.C and an author. Her most recent book is called “Steps to Independance for people with Learning Disabilities” which was published by Learning Disabilities Association of America in 2005. Dale suffers herself from dyslexia and wants to tell the world that learning disabilities does not have to stop you from being who you want to be. It does not have to stop you from striving or harm your capabilities to integrate to everyday life.
Danny Glover – (Born July 22, 1947) A great actor in both Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson and Predator 2. Danny Glover suffered dyslexia at school when he was younger and the school staff would label him retarded. This definitely was not very encouraging for him but he ended up finding ways to feel better about himself. He says that dyslexia had given him the feeling that he was not worthy to learn and that the people around him would not care of what would happen to his education. With time he eventually regained his self esteem and became a great actor.
George Burns – (January 20, 1896-March 9, 1996) An Academy-Award winning Jewish-American actor and comedian George Burns was a man filled with joy. He and his wife Gracie Allen would frequently team up on radio and television which made them both well known. George was an entertainer until a few years before his 100th birthday. Dyslexia never kept him from being who he was, a legend who had one of the longest American careers in show business history.
Hans Christian Andersen – (April 2 1805 – August 4 1875) Being an author of children’s fantasy stories, he was a victim of dyslexia and showed the world that when you want something, nothing can stop you from obtaining it. The books that he wrote have been translated into hundreds of different languages and continue to be distributed even today in millions of copies. Hans wrote books such as “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “The Princess and the Pea” “Thumbelina”, “The Snow Queen”, “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid”.
Henry Winkler – Henry Franklin Winkler (born October 30, 1945) is a Golden Globe Award-winning American actor, director, producer and author. He is perhaps most famous for his role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on the popular sitcom Happy Days (1974-1984). Winkler attended the McBurney School and received his bachelor’s degree from Emerson College in 1967 and his MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1970. In 1978, Emerson gave Winkler an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Winkler has also received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Austin College. Having struggled throughout his school years with unidentified dyslexia Winkler, at age 31, finally understood what he’d been grappling with all his life, when making a documentary about dyslexia, Winkler himself found that he was dyslexic.
Jackie Stewart – Sir John Young Stewart, OBE (born 11 June 1939 in Milton, West Dunbartonshire), better known as Jackie, and nicknamed The Flying Scot, is a Scottish former racing driver. He competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers’ Championships. Former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart, said he thought he was “thick” at school before discovering he was dyslexic. Sir Jackie said “word blindness” meant he had to race to keep up with other pupils. In those days dyslexia wasn’t something that got identified in many schools.
Leonardo Da Vinci – Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was a Tuscan polymath: scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. As an engineer, Leonardo conceived ideas vastly ahead of his own time, conceptualising a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and the double hull, and outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. He also had the gift of dyslexia. Most of the time, he wrote his notes backwards. Although unusual, this is a trait shared by many left-handed dyslexic people. Most of the time, dyslexic writers are not even consciously aware that they are writing this way.
Magic Johnson – Earvin Effay Johnson, Jr. (born August 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan) is a retired American National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson is acknowledged as one of the most popular NBA basketball players of all time, being well-known for his uncanny passing and dribbling skills, and for his cheerful nature on and off the court. In the words of Magic Johnson: “The looks, the stares, the giggles . . . I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read.”
Thomas Edison – Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor of Dutch origin and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and a long lasting light bulb. In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered. He was noted to be terrible at mathematics, unable to focus, and had difficulty with words and speech. This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling. The cause of Edison’s deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle ear infections. Thomas Edison was dyslexic, a problem child, and a mischief-maker. He talked when he was supposed to be listening and did not listen when the teacher talked. He had no patience. He was not well-coordinated and did poorly in sports. He applied himself with a passion to whatever caught his attention, but his attention was easily diverted.
Tom Cruise – Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (born July 3, 1962), more commonly known as Tom Cruise, is an American actor and film producer. Cruise has said that he suffered from abuse as a child. This was partially due to him suffering from dyslexia. He stated that when something went wrong, his father came down hard on him. Having gone through fifteen schools in twelve years, Cruise, who dropped his father’s name at age twelve, was also a victim of bullying at school.
Walt Disney – Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Disney is notable as one of the most influential and innovative figures in the field of entertainment during the twentieth century. Walt Disney had dyslexia, which is a learning disorder characterized by reading difficulties. While Walt Disney was attending high school he also went to the Academy of Fine Arts. This caused him to have double the school work than an average student on top of the fact that he also dealt with being dyslexic.
Whoopi Goldberg – Whoopi Goldberg (born November 13, 1955) is an American actress, comedian, radio host, TV personality, game show host, and author. Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in New York City. Whoopi had a lot of difficulty in school, but it was not until she was an adult did she learn that she had dyslexia. Despite her dyslexia, Whoopi Goldberg has gone on to have a highly successful film and television career.
Winston Churchill – Churchill described himself as having a “speech impediment”, which he consistently worked to overcome. After many years, he finally stated, “My impediment is no hindrance.” Although the Stuttering Foundation of America has claimed that Churchill stammered, the Churchill Centre has concluded that he lisped. Churchill’s impediment may also have been cluttering, which would fit more with his lack of attention to unimportant details and his very secure ego. According to several sources Winston Churchill was not dyslexic and had no learning disability whatsoever. In his autobiography he played up his low grades at Harrow, undoubtedly to convince readers, and possibly himself, how much he had overcome; but in this he exaggerated. He was actually quite good at subjects he enjoyed and in fact won several school prizes.
Woodrow Wilson – Former president of the United States. Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856-February 3, 1924), was the twenty-eighth President of the United States. Wilson did not learn to read until he was about 12 years old. His difficulty reading may have indicated dyslexia or A.D.D., but as a teenager he taught himself shorthand to compensate and was able to achieve academically through determination and self-discipline. He studied at home under his father’s guidance and took classes in a small school in Augusta.
Fanny Flagg – (born September 21, 1944) is an American author and actress. Flagg has spoken publicly about being dyslexic. Flagg has said she was enormously challenged as a writer because she was “severely dyslexic and couldn’t spell. So I was discouraged from writing and embarrassed”. Her burgeoning writing career was put on hold for much of the 1970s, but Flagg overcame her fear and completed several novels and screenplays.
George Patton – George Smith Patton GCB, KBE (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a leading U.S. Army general in World War II in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany, 1943-1945. Patton not begin his formal education until age 11, most likely due to dyslexia. Patton attended high school in Pasedena. Upon graduation, Patton was accepted at the Virginia Military Institute. He spent a year at VMI before being accepted to West Point.
Harry Belafonte – Harold George Belafonte, Jr. (born March 1, 1927) is an American musician, actor and social activist. One of the most successful Jamaican musicians in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style in the 1950s. Due to problems with dyslexia, Belafonte dropped out of high school and at the age of 17, he joined the US Navy for a couple of years. After that, he returned to New York and settled there. Belafonte became involved with the American Negro Theatre and soon began singing in clubs around the city.
Richard Branson – Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English entrepreneur, best known for his Virgin brand of over 360 companies. Richard Branson has been involved in a number of world record-breaking attempts since 1985, when in the spirit of the Blue Riband he attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the fastest recorded time. Branson has dyslexia, resulting in poor academic performance as a student. School was something of a nightmare for him. He was the captain of football, rugby union and cricket teams, and by the age of fifteen he had started two ventures that eventually failed, one growing Christmas trees and another raising budgerigars.
Nelson Rockefeller – Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979) was the forty-first Vice President of the United States, governor of New York, philanthropist, and businessman. Rockefeller was born in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was the son of John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He was the grandson of Standard Oil’s founder and chairman John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. Nelson Rockefeller died on the evening of Friday, January 26, 1979 at age 70 from a heart attack under circumstances whose details have never been completely revealed.
Neil Bush – Neil Mallon Bush (born January 22, 1955 in Midland, Texas) is the fourth of six children of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush (Barbara Lane Pierce). Neil is the younger brother of President George Walker Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and the late Robin Bush. At age 11, he entered the exclusive private St. Albans School in Washington, DC. He struggled through school. A counselor told his mother that it was doubtful the boy had the potential to graduate. He was later diagnosed as having dyslexia, and his mother spent much time coaching him through his learning disability. Eventually his grades improved and he graduated from St. Albans in 1973.
Tracey Gold – (born Tracey Claire Fisher on May 16, 1969 in New York City) is an American actress, best known for playing Carol Seaver on the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains. Her sister is the actress Missy Gold, who appeared on Benson. Tracy Gold has been an actress since the age of four, first appearing in a Pepsi print ad. She appeared in two canceled series, Shirley with Shirley Jones in 1979, and Goodnight Beantown, starring Bill Bixby in 1983. Gold is also famous for her highly publicized battle with anorexia nervosa, which almost killed her. Tracy Gold suffered from dyslexia during high school.
Bruce Jenner – William Bruce Jenner born October 28, 1949 in Mount Kisco, New York is a U.S. track athlete, known principally for winning the decathlon in the 1976 Summer Olympics. Bruce Jenner captivated the world when he broke the world record by scoring 8,634 points in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal and earned the title, “World’s Greatest Athlete.”Jenner grew up terrified of reading due to dyslexia, but he says his struggles with the reading disorder helped him learn to overcome adversity. He appeared on the sitcom Silver Spoons where he revealed his condition to the Stratton family. As is common for school-age dyslexic children, Jenner feared school, teachers, and reading. His behavior in the classroom was mislabeled by teachers and he would often daydream in class.
Orlando Bloom – Orlando Jonathan Blanchard Bloom (born 13 January 1977) is an English actor. He had his break-through roles in 2001 as the elf-prince Legolas in The Lord of the Rings and starring in 2003 as blacksmith Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and subsequently established himself as a lead in Hollywood films, including Elizabethtown and Kingdom of Heaven. As a child, he managed to get through The King’s School Canterbury and St Edmund’s School in Canterbury despite his dyslexia. 15 to 20 percent of the population is affected with a language-based learning disability – and dyslexia is the most common of these. Dyslexic children grow up to be brilliant doctors, lawyers, actors, writers and inventors. Bloom encourages kids to never give up on their dreams: “Take this obstacle and make it the reason to have a big life.”
Jay Leno – James Douglas Muir “Jay” Leno (born April 28, 1950) is an American stand-up comedian and television host. From 1992 to 2009, Leno was the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts. During an August 1, 2007, interview with CNN journalist Anderson Cooper on The Tonight Show, Leno confirmed that he is dyslexic. Although his high school guidance counselor recommended that he drop out of high school because of his grades, Jay not only graduated but also went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from Emerson College, in 1973. He also attended Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Tom Smothers – Thomas Bolin “Tom” Smothers, III (born February 2, 1937) is an American comedian, composer and musician from New York, New York. Tommy Smothers is best known as half of the musical comedy team The Smothers Brothers with his brother, Dick Smothers. Tom was portrayed as the “dumb one”. “I first realized I was funny in about the fourth or fifth grade. I was dyslexic and I had no idea what that was. I was always the last one to get the spelling thing–the dumb one. I always played that, pretending I was stupid.” “The thing about being dyslexic, I also have to search for words–it’s not just reading. I think of things and words don’t come. I never did stutter, but there were these little lapses. It was a gift as far as comedy timing was concerned.”
Charles Schwab – Charles Robert Schwab, Jr. (born July 29, 1937) is the founder and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation. Schwab has dyslexia – a learning disability that makes reading and writing difficult. He and many other executives with learning disabilities are becoming increasingly outspoken about the challenges they have faced. Mr. Schwab is now trying to increase public awareness of dyslexia and provide support for dyslexic children and their families. The Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation started a Web site called SparkTop.org to help children who have dyslexia and learning disabilities like ADD.
Edward Hallowell – Edward M. Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist who specialises in ADD/ADHD and who also has ADHD. He is the co-author of the book Delivered From Distraction. He also created The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, MA. He is alumni of Harvard and is also on the faculty of Harvard Medical School since 1983. “At the end of first grade, I was still a poor reader, and, to this day, I’m painfully slow at getting through a book…I have a dyslexic brain, a disordered brain, call it what you will. My brain got me through Harvard as an English major and a pre-med minor. I graduated magna cum laude and went on to medical school, residency, and fellowship…If you’re born with a brain that harbors dyslexia, I would say, “Lucky you!” You have untestable and immeasurable potential. You’re a surprise package; no one knows what you can do, including you. But I can tell you from years of experience that you can do special things. You have many talents that can’t be taught, and a brain that eludes the predictive powers of our wisest sayers of sooth.” If you have dyslexia, you may learn to read, but you will read with difficulty. You will struggle to develop fluency, or the ease reading takes on for people who don’t have the condition. For them, reading becomes as automatic as riding a bike. They don’t have to think about maintaining their balance. That’s what it means to be fluent. But for the dyslexic, fluency is tough to acquire. He can read, but only slowly and only with effort and concentration.
Edward James Olmos – (born February 24, 1947) is an American actor and director. Some of his roles were Gaff in Blade Runner, Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice, Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver and Admiral William Adama in the Battlestar Galactica series. One of his character traits is that he rarely smiles.
Gustave Flaubert – (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) was a French writer who is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), and for his scrupulous devotion to his art and style. Flaubert was a tireless worker and often complained in his letters to friends about the strenuous nature of his work.
Victor Villasenor – Victor Villasenor (born 1940) is an American fiction and non-fiction author. His works center on the Mexican American experience. His 1991 book Rain of Gold, a New York Times bestseller, describes the roots of his family. His works are often taught in American schools. He has gone on to write Thirteen Senses: A Memoir, a continuation of Rain of Gold and Burro Genius: A Memoir that describes his own life. He has also written screenplays. “First of all, I’d like you to know that dyslexia is a gift. It allowed me to see patterns that other people couldn’t see. In high school, it was very difficult at first for me to learn how to play chess, but then once I learned, I quickly became the best chess player at our whole school, even beating our faculty and some of them thought they were great chess players.”
Russell White – What better way to slap you in the face than to graduate in four years. And the learning disability, dyslexia, what a blessing it was to find out it was not me, that it was the learning disability, and reflecting on the grammar school teachers who just thought I was lazy. You can’t put a price on all that.” “I wouldn’t change anything, because school was definitely good for me, finding out about my dyslexia and knowing I could be productive in society. If I had gone to any other school, I don’t think I could have achieved that knowledge.”
Nolan Ryan – Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. (born January 31, 1947) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for more than a quarter century and still holds many major league pitching records. Ryan played in a major league record 27 seasons for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers, from 1966 to 1993. Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher. He is tied with Bob Feller for the most one-hitters, with 12. Ryan also pitched 18 two-hitters.
Robert Rauschenberg – Robert Milton Ernest Rauschenberg (b. October 22, 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas) is an American artist. Though Rauschenberg had difficulty reading he likes to put words into his artwork. He often misspells them. He also likes to play word games, for example, creating palindromes (words that can be read forward and backward.) On May 9, 2006 at Christie’s in New York City, a work of art by Robert Rauschenberg titled “Cage,” dedicated to John Cage, sold for $1,360,000, a record for a Rauschenberg piece on paper. Though his work is recognized worldwide, when he was in school his success would not have been predicted. Rauschenberg has dyslexia, a reading disability that made school very difficult for him. “I was considered slow. While my classmates were reading their textbooks, I drew in the margins,” Rauschenberg told an interviewer.
Stephen J. Cannell – Stephen Joseph Cannell, (born February 5, 1941) is an American television producer, writer, novelist, and occasional actor. Cannell struggled with dyslexia in school, but did graduate from the University of Oregon in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. At UO, he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity. Cannell has also acted occasionally, including a regular supporting role as “Dutch” Dixon on his series, Renegade. He also took a turn in an episode of Silk Stalkings.
Paul J. Orfalea – Paul Orfalea nicknamed “Kinko” because of his curly red hair, born in Los Angeles, founded the copy-chain Kinko’s. Paul Orfalea founded Kinko’s in 1970 near the University of California at Santa Barbara with a simple idea: provide college students with products and services they need at a competitive price. Co-workers helped him with written correspondence. Orfalea says there isn’t a machine at Kinko’s he can operate. Orfalea has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). From its modest beginnings, Kinko’s is now the world’s leading business services chain. Today, there are over 1,500 Kinko’s worldwide.
John Corcoran – Born John Waldon Corcoran Jr. on December 5, I937 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Jack and Agnes Leonard Corcoran, he was the third child and only boy in a family of six children. Corcoran, who is dyslexic. Confessing his life long handicap marked the end of shame anxiety, and ingenious evasions and the beginning of a crusade on behalf of literacy and education reform. Since then, he’s shared his experinences with everyone from prison inmates to Oprah audiences, even testifying on illiteracy issues before Congess. He told Biography Magazine: I always knew how much I wanted to be able to read, but I didn’t know how much it affected my being.”
Harry Anderson – (born October 14, 1952) is an Emmy Award-nominated American actor and magician. Anderson was a street magician before becoming an actor. He is famous for the role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984-1992 television series Night Court. In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live.
John Horner – John “Jack” R. Horner (born June 15, 1946) is an American paleontologist who discovered and named the Maiasaura, providing the first clear evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young. He is one of the most well known paleontologists in the United States. In addition to his many paleontological discoveries, Horner served as the technical advisor for all of the Jurassic Park films. Dr. Horner discovered the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, the first evidence of dinosaur colonial nesting, the first evidence of parental care among dinosaurs, and the first dinosaur embryos. Jack Horner is the Montana State University Regents’ Professor of Paleontology, but his dyslexia precluded a college degree, which was not diagnosed until he was an adult and had not graduated from college. While working at Princeton he found a diagnostic center, and his dyslexia was formally diagnosed. “I wasn’t diagnosed until well after I had reached adulthood, had struggled through school being considered lazy, dumb, and perhaps even retarded, and had flunked out of college seven times.”
Richard Strauss – June 11, 1864 – September 8, 1949) Richard Strauss was a German composer of the late Romantic era and early modern era, particularly noted for his tone poems and operas. Strauss was also a noted conductor. In 1882 he entered Munich University, where he studied philosophy and art history, but not music. Nevertheless, he left a year later to go to Berlin, where he studied briefly before securing a post as assistant conductor to Hans von Bulow, taking over from him at Munich when von Bulow resigned in 1885. His compositions around this time were quite conservative, in the style of Robert Schumann or Felix Mendelssohn, true to his father’s teachings. His Horn Concerto No. 1 (1882-1883) is representative of this period and is still regularly played.
David Jones – Stunt man, pioneer in helicopter aerial photography
Dr. Red Duke – Physician, television commentator
Ann Bancroft – Explorer, lecturer, educator, first woman to travel across the ice to the North and South Poles.
Ellie Hawkins – Record-breaking rock climber
Eric Wynalda – Professional athlete
Frank Dunkle – Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fred Curry – Navy pilot, CEO of Greyhound Lines
Gaston Caperton – Former governor of West Virginia
Greg Louganis – U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist
Lindsay Wagner – Actress, author, “The Bionic Woman”
Nancy L. Sonnabend – Researcher, inventor, author
Nola D. Chee – Award-winning poet and author
Patricia Polacco – Author, illustrator of children’s books
Roger W. Wilkins – Head of the Pulitzer Prize Board
Stephen Bacque – Entrepreneur of the Year, 1998
Sylvia Law – Professor of law and medicine, author
Terry Bowersock – Entrepreneur, motivational speaker
Thomas H. Kean – President of Drew University, former governor of New Jersey
Tomima Edmark – Author, entrepreneur
William B. Yeats – Poet, dramatist, Nobel prize winner
William James – Psychologist, philosopher
William Simmons – MD Professor of anesthesiology
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