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Famous people with illnesses or disabilities

Today's stars

Stars that Shine Banner

These actors, musicians, and athletes have achieved great things without letting anything stop them. You might not even know that they have an illness or disability. Want to get the info? Just click on the person’s name to reveal their condition. And then remember not to let anything stop you from going after your own dreams and goals!

arrowActor and musician Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers has…


arrowActress Halle Berry has…

type 1 diabetes. She gives herself daily insulin shots and watches what she eats.

arrowActress Keira Knightley has…

dyslexia. Growing up, Keira's classmates made fun of her, so she would get books on tape and memorize them.

arrowActor Orlando Bloom, who starred in The Lord of the Rings, and Patrick Dempsey of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy have…


arrowOlympic swimmer Misty Hyman and the rapper Coolio both have…


arrowThe designer Tommy Hilfiger and actors Will Smith and Whoopi Goldberg all have…

learning disabilities.

arrowMichelle Akers, a former member of the USA Women's Soccer Team and second all-time leading scorer (behind Mia Hamm), has…

headaches and chronic fatigue syndrome.

arrowActresses Sarah Michelle Gellar and Chloe Sevigny have…


arrowFormer Olympic sprinter and hurdler Gail Devers has…

Grave's disease.

arrowNBA superstar Magic Johnson became infected with…

HIV in 1991 and educates young people about how to avoid getting the virus.

arrowMiss America 1995, Heather Whitestone, has…

a hearing impairment. She was the first woman with a disability to be given this crown.

arrowTelevision star Nicholas Brendon has dealt with…

stuttering his whole life, and is now serving as honorary chairperson of the Stuttering Foundation of America.

arrowMusician Stevie Wonder is…


arrowActress Marlee Matlin is…


arrowViolinist Itzhak Perlman had…

polio as a child.

arrowBaseball player Jim Abbott was born with…

one hand yet pitched in the major leagues.

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Lessons from history arrow top

Many leaders, teachers, entertainers and others who have made a difference in history had illnesses or disabilities. Read on to find out who some of them are.

  • Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Harriet Tubman, and Leonardo da Vinci all had epilepsy.
  • Walt Disney (cartoonist and founder of Walt Disney World, Winston Churchill (prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II), and General George Patton (a famous U.S. Army general during World War II) all had a learning disability.
  • Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the nation from a wheelchair after he lost the use of his legs from polio.
  • Judy Garland, star of The Wizard of Oz, had depression.

Aimee Mullins, Paralympic athlete, model, and actress arrow top

Aimee Mullins.

Learn more about the Paralympics.
Aimee Mullins was born without fibula (calf) bones. When she was just a year old, she had both legs amputated below the knees. Aimee is a world-class runner, who broke world records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and long jump at the 1996 Paralympics. She attended Georgetown University, where she was selected to run against able-bodied athletes. Today, she enjoys skiing, boxing, and parachuting (with special shock-absorbing prosthetic legs). She has modeled in London for British designer Alexander McQueen and has acted in three movies and one TV episode. Aimee Mullins was named one of "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People magazine.


Content last reviewed February 16, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013