Famous People With Dyslexia

Famous Dyslexics from Hans Christian Andersen to Anderson Cooper and Their Achievements

It is often thought that those diagnosed with dyslexia are held back by their disability. The reality, however, is that there are many notoriously famous people both in the past and the world today who have overcome this disability in order to accomplish great things in their lives. From Hans Christian Andersen to Anderson Cooper, the list is endless. Just take a look at a few of these famous dyslexics and what they have accomplished.

Tommy Hilfiger is an Iconic fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger created an all American brand of clothing that remains popular among men and women of all ages since its debut in the 1980s.

Billy Bob Thornton is an American actor, screenwriter, director and musician. He has struggles with ADD and dyslexia.

Keira Knightley The film star was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was just six years old. Though some may see dyslexia as being detrimental for an aspiring actress, Knightley used it as a springboard for her career.

Vince Vaughn had trouble both reading and paying attention. The school insisted that he be given on medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but Vince’s father refused to even consider it as an option. Not only was Vince suffering from ADHD, but he also had dyslexia and found it difficult to keep up. He was put into special classes for kids with learning disabilities.

Steven Spielberg When people think of successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Steven Spielberg is typically at the top of the list. Most people, even his loyal fans, would never guess that the famous director has struggled with dyslexia throughout his entire life. What is even more amazing is the fact that his learning disorder went undiagnosed for years.

Jay Leno With Jay Leno.” His face is universally recognized, and his controversial private life is constantly appearing in supermarket tabloids and on entertainment news. Yet unbeknownst by most, Leno has struggled with the learning disorder, dyslexia, since childhood.

Hans Christian Andersen was Danish author, best known for his children’s stories such as “The Little Mermaid”, “Thumbalina”, and “The Ugly Duckling”.

Michael “Atters” Attree is an English satirist writer and comedian and had a hand in authoring quite a few books, British television shows, and theatre.

Abhishek Bachchan is Bollywood actor and producer, and is married to actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai.

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German pianist and composer and is one of the most influential composers of all time. He continued to compose, perform, and conduct even after becoming completely deaf.

Michael Bennet is a lawyer, business man, and politician. He is currently serving as the junior United States Senator for Colorado and is a member of the Democratic party.

Louise Arnold is an English author who was discovered in BBC’s “Find the Next J.K. Rowling” contest. She has since authored three books in the “Golden and Grey” children’s stories series.

Orlando Bloom is an English actor best known for his role as Legolas in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and then as Will Turner in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy. He was also named the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in October of 2009.

Roberto Bolaño was a Chilean novelist and poet, best known for his work “The Savage Detectives”. He was post humously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for his fiction work, “2666”.

Jeremy Bonderman debuted in major league baseball for the Oakland Tigers. He was then traded from Oakland to Detroit and is now a free agent.

Richard Branson is one of the most well known entreprenuers of his time. As the founder of the Virgin Group, he has had his hand in the music industry, transportation, and telecommunications. He has also set a goal to break as many world records as possible.

Erin Brockovich is the president of Brockovich Research and Consulting. She was instrumental and the head of an investigation and construction of the case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California and is the feature player in a movie written about her own life.

Octavia Butler was a famous American science fiction writer and is one of the most well known African-American writers in the field. She has won the Hugo and Nebula awards and was the first science fiction author to win the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

Thomas Edison is an American inventor and scientist who has created innovations that have revolutionized the way things are done today. He invented the light bulb, phonograph, motion picture camera, and is credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Charles “Pete” Conrad, Jr. was a naval officer for the American Navy, an engineer, an astronaut, and the third person to walk on the moon. He was the 20th person and the 10th American to fly in space and flew on the Gemini 5, Gemini 11, Apollo 12, and Skylab 2 space missions for NASA.

Carl XVI Gustaf is the king of Sweden and is formally known as “His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden”. Due to a new law establishing equal primogeniture, his heir apparent is his oldest child, Crown Princess Victoria.

Dave Chalk is a Canadian broadcaster and technology journalist and is known as a unique entrepreneur. At a young age, he was written off by the school system due to dyslexia, but has since become one of the most successful serial entrepreneurs of his time. He has invested in and sold over 20 businesses and made his first million from nothing by the age of 23.

Leonardo da Vinci, an Italian inventor, is truly one of the original Renaissance men. He is best known for his art work. He is the creator of such masterpieces as “The Mona Lisa”, “The Last Supper”, and his drawing of the “Vitruvian Man”. He is also known for his technological conceptualisation of the helicopter, the tank, the calculator, and many other modern day inventions.

Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) is an American singer, actress, director, and record producer but is best known as “The Goddess of Pop”. She got her start as half of the duo Sonny and Cher and has since won an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes, an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and a People’s Choice Award for her success in television, music, and film.

Stephen J. Cannell was the founder of Stephen J. Cannell Productions and was an American writer, novelist, producer and occasional actor. He was the creator or co-creator of many shows, most notably “The A-Team”, “The Rockford Files”, and “21 Jump Street”.

Chaz Bono, formerly Chastity Bono, is the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono. He is an author, musician, actor, and one of the biggest advocates and supporters of the LGBT Rights movement. He is also one of the most famous figures to publicly go through female to male gender transition.

Anderson Cooper is a well known television personality as well as an American journalist and author. He spent many years filming journalism pieces in war-torn regions of Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and is currently a commentator for CNN.

Tom Cruise is an American actor and producer who has had many leading roles in popular films throughout the past two decades. He has been proclaimed to be one of the few producers who can guarantee the success of of a billion dollar film franchise and is well known for his controversial support of the Church of Scientology.

Keira Knightley is an English model and actress who received her first break in international fame in the films “Bend it Like Beckham” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy. “Forbes” magazine has listed her as the second highest paid actress in Hollywood, and is the only non-American actress to make this list. She has been nominated for several awards such as the Academy Award for Best Actress, two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her acting in the film “Atonement”.

Patrick Dempsey is a well known American actor and race car driver. He is best known for his role as “McDreamy”, Dr. Derek Shepherd, in the dramatic television series “Grey’s Anatomy”. He has also had a roles in many films such as “Enchanted”, “Made of Honor”, and “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist, author, and is one of the most influential scientists and intellectuals of all time. He has published over 300 scientific and over 150 non-scientific works and has received several honorary doctrate degrees from numerous American and European colleges. His name “Einstein” has in modern day, become synonymous with the word “genius”.

Alexander Faludy became the youngest undergraduate at Cambridge in over 200 years at the age of 15. Although he could barely write his own name, he has become an English student and is known as a former child prodigy.

Whoopi Goldberg is an American actress, comedienne, political activist, singer, song writer, and talk show host. Her first film role was as Celie in “The Color Purple” in 1985, and her career has only blossomed since. She has been nominated and won several awards and has done numerous films in her career. She can currently be seen as a co-host on the popular television show, “The View”.

Steve Jobs is best known as the co-founder and CEO of Apple, a computer and telecommunications company. Along with Mike Markkula, Steve Wozniak, and many others, he helped design, develop, and market one of the first successful personal computer line called the Apple II series. He is listed as the primary inventor or co-inventor of over 230 awarded patents or patent applications related to technologies from computer and portable devices to user interfaces, speakers, keyboards, power adapters, staircases, clasps, sleeves, lanyards and packages.

Ingvar Kamprad is the Swedish founder of IKEA and is the eleventh wealthiest person in the world according to “Forbes” magazine. He started dabbling in business at a young age selling matches from his bicycle and eventually expanded his ventures into other areas. At the age of 17, his father gave him a cash reward for his success in his studies. He used this cash to establish IKEA and has been building the IKEA empire ever since.

Lindsay Wagner is best known as an actress for her role as Jaime Sommers in the series “The Bionic Woman for which she was nominated and won an Emmy Award. However, she originally got her start as a model in Los Angeles and as the host of “Playboy After Dark”. She has had many other roles in both film and television, however she is most famous for “The Bionic Woman”.

Marcus Brigstocke is an English comedian and satirist who has had his hand in stand up comedy, radio, television, and musical theatre. He also played a cameo role in “Love Actually” as Mike, the radio personality who interviews Billy Mack.

John Lennon was an English singer and song writer who gained his international notariety as one of the founders and member of The Beatles. After the break up of the popular singing group, he went on to a career as a solo artist and as a song writer for many other popular singers and groups. He was a leader in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War era, and his songs were adopted as the anthem for the anti-war movement. In 1980, he was shot four times in the back at the entrance to his New York apartment building by Mark David Chapman.

Henry Winkler is best known as an actor for his role as Arthur Fonzerelli in the television show “Happy Days”. He has had his hand in everything from acting, writing, producing, and has even become the spokesman for the Dyslexia Foundation. He has shown his support of the Dyslexia Foundation through the writing and reading/book tours of his children’s book series about Hank Zipzer, the fourth grade dyslexic boy who became “the worlds greatest underachiever”.

As you can see, there are a variety of famous dyslexics who have become famous in a variety of genres. There are so many more that could not be listed, however the list is almost endless. None of these famous names let their disability hold them back. Instead, they rose above their insecurities and became some of the most notable names in literary, musical, and film history.

34 thoughts on “Famous People With Dyslexia

  1. I am glad to find information about dyslexia, the material out there shows many people with dyslexia that are famous with dyslexia. I till can not sound out, but my good memory helps alot.

  2. My son is struggling with Dyslexia. He is 9 years old and he was diagnosed last year. Having lists of famous, SUCCESSFUL people who are dyslexic is great for him. He sees that the problems can be overcome.

  3. My son is 18 and is a chronic dyslexic… he struggled in school but I always supported him to pursue his interests and we visited museums, galleries and parks to give him real life experience. He always showed an interest in science particularly biology and though he did quite well in his GCSEs he was dissuaded by school staff from continuing onto A’Level – but he started a Foundation year at University last September and all being well, he will start a BSc in Biochemistry next academic year.

    All I can say is to keep the faith, help your child shrug off the setbacks and try again – I admire that quality in my son more than his high IQ!!! Dyslexia is a gift not a curse.

      • What a wonderful mother, I’m in graduate school and I’ve learned not everyone learns the same. Visiting museums and watching videos brings lessons to life! God bless you for finding ways to help develop your child!

    • My son was diagnosed with Dyslexia in 2010 – it has been a very painful -“Long and Winding Road” since finding this out. We live in an area in Georgia where it’s hard to get help and people do not understand Dyslexia and how easy it is to just meet the child’s needs with some mild accommodations. Others may need more- Instead of giving up on a child and saying they can not teach them. Which happened in our case. Which truly left his Dad and I both in a desperate situation to find help outside our community to get our son help . At one point moving the family during summer to get him in program to help him -which put a huge burden on us. But we sacrificed to do what we could to see he would get the correct help he needed . We still have been fighting to get just basic accommodations in school – to help him succeed. There is no reason why he can not be successful if just given the right accommodations .We just don’t understand why it has to be so hard to just see that a child be given extra time on test , readers & some other things to see that a child can show what the are learning. Our son has came so far since first finding out . But still has a road ahead of him – he just entered middle school this year we feel by what we have done traveling to get him help . Had profiles done which is such another issue. How different two profiles can be and totally be so different on diagnosis ?!
      We have learned so much as parents and still are always looking for things that can benefit him . Our son truly has gained but still needs the correct instructional help and what we have prayed for since the day we found out. That there will be that one special teacher, coach mentor or person that will take him under there wings and just truly care and want to see him succeed besides us ( we know The Lord made him perfect just they way he is) and with his guidance he will make it!
      He would not been chosen for Duke Tip program he was in top 99% in Math in his class . That proves with perseverance ,hard work and devotion he is succeeding. Our wish if public figures with Dyslexia would just make more awareness (-so children will not feel different just because the learn differently.) They should be given a chance without having it be so difficult to fight for there rights and to just get educators to understand and reach out to these children. I know there is Autism awareness – I think it’s time to help educate society more about Dyslexia and children can overcome with the effective team working together ( Parents , teachers & educators) if all parties truly understand and look down upon it!
      Thank from a very caring mother that hopes to see more public awareness and hopes to see more on this in media soon !
      God Bless
      We will never stop fighting for him and others!!

  4. I’am a31 year old dyslexia. Don’t force us to achive your(parents) goal, Insted let us lead the way to our goal. Mrs Lola what you did is just AWESOME..

  5. My name is Muhammad Arief bin Bahtiar Affendi but my friends call me Arief. I was born on 8 August 1996 at Pusat Rawatan Islam, Kuala Lumpur.

    During my early years at school, I had a tough time because I couldn’t understand what the teachers were teaching. I also didn’t make friends with other children and always by myself. However, I am so full of imagination and love to draw.

    When I was 9, I was diagnosed for having learning difficulties or Dyslexia. I enrolled Dyslexia Centre in Kuala Lumpur for intensive course of 3 months. I learned to read and made many friends. The center also conducted swimming and horse riding lessons which I found really help to boost my confidence.

    After the intensive course I continued to study at SK Taman Maluri. With the teachers’ supports, I can learn better and happier to go to school. I’ll be taking my PMR examination this year and hope to get good grades so that I can pursue my ambition to be an automobile designer.

  6. The brain operates the orbital muscles of the eye. If the beginning reading teacher
    introduces single letters at first, he teaches the brain to move the eye so that the
    central focal area of the retina (the foveola) will transfer the single letters to the brain.
    The foveola is only four letters wide, so that later the maximum reading speed is only
    about 196 words per minute (wpm.), which is very slow.
    The better teacher introduces short words like “bed” and “dog” at first, then four and
    five-letter words. The brain is trained to to expose the larger focal area (the fovea,
    16 letters in width) for a maximum physical reading speed of about 800 wpm.
    This means faster reading, higher comprehension, better spelling, and less stress.

  7. Saw your video on people with Dyslexia! Loved it! It can make any child or adult feel better knowing there is someone “bigger” than them.. who made it! My company developed Colored Overlays for people struggling with dyslexia and I’d love to post your video on our website for inspiration and link it on our Facebook Page. Would that be okay with you? : ) Thanks!

  8. I suffer from dyslexia.. and most of my family does as well, but its not seeing words backword, its memerization, spelling and grammer. Plus Math is a stuggle as well.. My son is 14, and may not be moved forward to next grade level. because he reading a 3rd. grad level.. the school systems are not as aquipted to really work with him or other students.Due to lack of imformation or skilled Teacher. This is a problem that needs to be addressed…thx.

    • I agree we have to get legislators to try to make a difference – bills need to be submitted that look after these children – we have struggled so much with same issues – I want to don what I can for not only the future of my child but all children!

  9. i have dyslexia and it is inredibly frustrating. not counting the fact the some may be considered dumber than that of some one with out dyslexia.

  10. I live in The Bahamas and I’m not sure if my son is dyslexic but so much of what is written here is true about my son. He is 12 years old and has struggled to maintain even a C average in school. We have just always said he didn’t want to try. What’s interesting is in subjects like P.E, computer, Spanish, music he gets A’s. His high school english teacher recently told me I should get him tested because of the type of errors he makes. I’m a little frustrated and angry because I’ve worked so hard to get him even to the point he is at and annoyed that I didn’t see that something could be wrong. I do not know where to turn because I am not aware of what is available or what it costs in my country. Seeing this note encourages me though as I cry and
    try to finish this note.

    • Hey. don’t be annoyed and sad with your kids. It’s ok. Let your kids exposed to computer/ other stuff as my dad did it to me. I myself, 20 years old now is a Dyscalculia (I can’t do math) but I’m a computer science student today scoring near CGPA 4.0. Hard to believe? I write code better than anyone else. No one beat me. It get very funny when the guy next door don’t have this disability yet I can beat them.

      Also, today. I’m also an investor. Since I’m a near 4.0 student and I had already prove my ability. My mum is handling her company over to me in the future and I have great plan for it to make it a global brand.

      If your kids can’t do well. Don’t stop, keep searching. He must be very good at something. When people say a dyslexics is “good”, they are really very good. Not ordinary good. Dyscalculia is a gift from god for me. I appreciate it. (:

  11. I was 50 years old before I embraced my Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia and ADD, by embracing it rather than seeing it a something to hate but rather something to love I have been able to write my first book that will finish up with 20 chapters talking about my personal journey. I have harness my ADD and over 11 day for only 3 hours or less a day I have wrote or written over 30 thousand words for my book. I know for a fact if you see it as a gift the flight flight is gone in our life and peace rains. I am now teaching people about dyslexia in Australia because we are miles behind England and America, good on those country’s for standing up and looking after Dyslexia people and putting money into education to help. My granddaughters school is running a program for the next 3 years, finally a school who see the problems. Because it is passed down I knew what to look for in my 5 grandkids so I have been able to help them but many many many kids get missed, and I find that soooooooooooooo sad, so thank you to sights like this that I can send people to for knowledge.

    • Hi Sandy
      Im just wondering where in Australia they are actually tackling this as I have a 10 year old girl in Brisbane with dyslexia and have helped start BRISBANE DYSLEXICS – to advocate for change in the education system and assist parents and children with the issues that arise before and after diagnosis

  12. My daughter is dyslexic. She was diagnosed at age 5 because I noticed there was something wrong with her at age 3 when most kids were so proud showing the letter “A” for apple. I fought hard even to get her tested and later to get her therapy. She was bullied in school, teachers called her stupid and wanted her to be contented in just being “dumb” and be placed in the lowest level in class. I too was attacked by the social workers being blamed for my daughter’s disability because I was a woman with a very successful career. But she is a fighter and I fought with her, sometimes even getting a lawyer to help her fight the school. It is sad that schools and governmental authorities are not equipped with well trained teachers and social workers in helping children with dyslexia even though these children are diagnosed by specialist.
    I feel for many mothers, especially the ones who do not have the resources to help their children. Your article inspires me and my daughter. She will get where she wants. She just needs a bit more time then others and certainly with a lot of hard work which she does not mind.

  13. I’ve struggled through so many things cause of dyslexia, most days I can’t go on without being corrected by someone at least 10 times. But what my dyslexia did for me is gave me the ability to explore things without worry about being too terribly awful. Music has helped with me accommodating my dyslexia because I see things bit by bit instead overwhelming myself with the big picture now. Though I experience bad thing from being dyslexic, it’s help me develop in ways nothing else could have.

  14. I’ve always struggled with reading and writing. In grade 12 I got a 50% in English. They just put you threw. At my age no one knew what what was going on inside my head. I found out when I was 50 years old that I have dyslexia. I’m now 60 years old. Oh well never too late to improve. Thanks for such a great website.

  15. My Son Abhay Shaji is Dyslexic. He is very good with technical thing. By looking to an aelctroni equipment or any electrical thing he know how to work with out knowing any theory. Now he finished his cbse 10th with 56% marks.For him writing exams is a horrible thing. I am a teacher. Our family supporting him a lot. He is very smart except the exams. If he is interested in one thing ,he is spending lot of time with that .His height of patience in that is very high.
    Now we are planning for him some technical course.

    This site inspired us for hi a lot.

    Kindly lead us for the betterment of his feature

    Mini Shaji

  16. My family has. been struggling with my grandson who has dyslexia. He does very well in PE and Mathematics but he failed all other subjects He become extremely frustrated and begins to weep when asked to read anything. We live in the Bahamas where many of young men are falling through the cracks because they have failed in school. Financial problems prevent the family doing much to help. Any suggestions?

    • I found the book “The GIFT of Dyslexia” quite helpful. It is by Ron Davis. I was in my 40’s when I first learned that I am dyslexic, and it explains SOoooo much. Now my world makes sense.

  17. I have dyslexia in therteen and struggle with reeding and spelling its realy good to no that lots of famos people has the same dificulty that I have and that it hasn’t. Put them back in what thay wanted to do becus I want to.have a creer in performing arts and if I werk hard I no I can make it

  18. I was wondering if anyone knew of any Professional Surfers who are Dyslexic?

    My 8 yo son is Dyslexic and asked me if there were any pro surfers who had Dyslexia. I have been unable to find any in my search to date. He is well aware of the many successful people identified as Dyslexic but really looking to identify with surfers at the moment as our entire family surf and enjoy the beach culture.

    Hope someone may be ale to help?

  19. Being dyslexic is really hard sometimes, but it does have its good points. I am a sophomore in high school and I read at a 12th grade reading level. Dyslexia doesn’t slow me down. I actually use being dyslexic to my personal advantage. If I wouldn’t have pushed my self to read a lot as a kid, then dyslexia would have gotten the best of me

  20. even i hav dyslexia and i’m coping pretty well because of family and school support .i’m 16 years old and i’m doing IGCSE in india , i’m much comfortable now that i have found such amazing personalities having dyslexia and i hope everyone with dyslexia excel as they should

  21. I’m Benedict Sandile Dube. Google my names and you’ll find that I produce music, design websites and pretty much nothing else.
    I’m 17 years old now and still in high school (11th grade).

    I have a case of autism (called Asperger’s or something) and dyslexia. My school report card shows me as a guy who either doesn’t try or isn’t fit to proceed but, I do pretty well IN class. I score the lowest in my favourite subjects, mainly because I write what feels right to me, not what I’m taught.

    Sadly, my family only supports me finacially, they see my school performance but would rather let it slide than address it.
    I rely on the support I get from loyal friends (most being classmates). They tend to call me a genius, but they ALL score higher marks than me. I ask them why they think of me as an intelligent person and what they all tell me is that I’m unique (somehow making me feel as if they’re lying).

    Living with these disorders for me has been the worst pain ever. I once went to a psychologist but my dad refused to pay for the following sessions. I hate him. I blame him for this condition, his alcoholic and abusive behaviour must have been the cause.

    I still need help. For me, this disorder is a down. This site gave me that 2 minutes motivation that I can do it but at the end I’m still suicidal.

    How does one cope with both asperger’s syndrome and dyslexia (and depression too)?

  22. After 25 year I realise I am dyslexic and I really happy answer me y my school days so painful experience for me and y i different things compare normal people thanks god you create me sum different thanks for the incredible gift dyslexia

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