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Famous People with Learning Disabilities

Famous People with Learning Disabilities  

Many successful individuals have learning disabilities and their accomplishments serve as examples of the tremendous potential that can be realized by individuals despite this type of disability. The following is a list of a few of the many famous people who have learning disabilities: For a more extensive list of individuals with learning disabilities go to the Great Schools website .

Artists, Artisans, Musicians, and Business Leaders

Artists, Artisans and Musicians

  • Harry Belafonte, famous African American entertainer and political activist
  • Stephen Jenkins, singer-songwriter for Third Eye Blind
  • Jewel, pop-music sensation
  • Tommy Hilfiger, well-known fashion designer
  • Robert Rauschenberg, famous artist
  • Bob Weir, guitarist and vocalist, formerly with The Grateful Dead

Business Leaders

  • Richard Branson, successful entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Airlines
  • John T. Chambers founder and CEO of Cisco Systems
  • Barbara Corcoran, founder of one of New York City's largest residential real estate agencies, recently authored Use What You've Got & Other Business Lessons I Learned from my Mom
  • Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish founder and chairman of IKEA stores, claims he adapted the inner workings of his business to compensate for his dyslexia
  • Paul Orfalea, Kinko's founder
  • Charles Schwab, founder, chairperson, and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation
Athletes, Entertainers & Celebrities


  • Billy Blanks, world class martial artist and television actor
  • Terry Bradshaw, former NFL quarterback and host of Fox's NFL pre-game show
  • Scott Eyre, San Francisco Giants pitcher
  • Cammi Granato, two-time Olympian in ice hockey
  • Bruce Jenner, 1976 gold medalist in the Olympic decathlon
  • Chris Kaman, center for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers
  • Mike Lorenz, lineman for the New England Patriots
  • Greg Loganis, Olympic gold medalist in diving in the 1988 games
  • John E. Morgan, PGA champion, was bullied as a kid because of his learning disabilities

Entertainers & Celebrities

  • Orlando Bloom, English actor Lord of the Rings
  • Cher, an academy Award-winning actress
  • Patrick Dempsey, Actor Grey's Anatomy
  • Danny Glover, actor of theatre and film
  • Whoopi Goldberg, actress and comedian
  • Brain Grazer, producer of movies such as A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13
  • Woody Harrelson, Actor
  • Salma Hayek, Mexican-born actress
  • Keira Knightlyey, starred in Bend it Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jay Leno, popular comedian and late-night talk show host
  • Vince Vaughn, actor who was featured in The Break-Up and Wedding Crashers
Community Advocates, Explorers, and Political Figures

Community Advocates

  • Erin Brockovich, inspiration for the movie of the same name
  • Dexter Scott King, President and CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, GA


  • Ann Bancroft, first woman to travel to the North Pole

Political Figures

  • David Boies, prestigious lawyer involved in high-profile cases
  • James Carville, famous political consultant
  • Gavin Newsom, youngest mayor of San Francisco in 100 years
  • Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York for 12 years and Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford
Medical Professionals, Writers, & Media Professionals

Medical Professionals

  • Harvey Cushing, M.D. (1869-1939), world renowned neurosurgeon
  • Helen Taussig, M.D. (1898-1986), successful cardiologist
  • Delos Cosgrove, M.D. is a cardiothoracic surgeon, and inventor of several medical devices

Writers & Media Professionals

  • Anderson Cooper, CNN news anchor
  • John Dunning, Denver mystery writer
  • Fannie Flagg, writer and actor who is most famous for her novel Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Richard Ford, author Independence Day
  • John Irving, novelist and screenplay writer of World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, and Cider House Rules
  • Victor Villaseñor, Mexican-American author who has written 9 novels and 65 short stories
  • Art Rodriguez, California author who documents his challenging childhood in children's and young adult books

Useful Resources:

LDOnline offers resources for faulty that support their understanding of Learning Disabilities.

The Faculty Lounge is a disability resource site for faculty and administrators at postsecondary institutions.

Last Modified 11/10/10