Dyslexia – Famous People

Dyslexia – Famous People

Dyslexia and Education

Although the ability to read is fundamental to education there are famous people in every profession who have achieved success despite the disability of dyslexia. Review of the writings some of these people indicate that it is possible to analyse for evidence of dyslexia. As a result, some thought to have had dyslexia, probably did not. There is, if you like, a dyslexia toolkit for identifying true dyslexia.

Dyslexia and Entertainment

Harry Belafonte - Actor with DyslexiaIn entertainment there many examples including Harry Belafonte, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Oliver Reed and Loretta Young.


Numerous famous scientists have had dyslexia including Alexander Graham Bell, Pierre Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Michael Faraday.


They may have had reading difficulty but this did not affect the abilities of artists including Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picaso and sculptor Auguste Rodin.


John Lennon and Nigel Kennedy, two famous musicians worked through their reading difficulties.

Politicians with Dyslexia

George Washington and Woodrow Wilson rose to the presidency of the USA despite their handicap. Winston Churchill claimed that dyslexia was at the root of some poor school results.

The following is an example fo George Washington’s writing: “It clearning about one o’Clock & our time being too Precious to Loose we a second time ventured out & Worked hard till Night & then returned to pEnningtons we got our Suppoers & was Lighted in to a Room & I not being so good a Woodsman as the rest of my Company striped my slef very orderly & went in to the Bed as they call’d it when to my Surprize I found it to be northing but a Little Straw-matted together without Sheets or any thing else but only on Thread Bear blanket with double its Weight of Vermin such as Lice Feas & c.


Richard Branson CEO of the Virgin brand,  Henry Ford who saw the potential of mass car production and Robert Woodruff President of Coca-Cola seemed to do well despite being dyslexic. Henry Ford was dyslexic, and made use of that as a springboard to tweak his various other abilities. He would repeat specific actions till they became like clockwork. Later on, he transformed industry worldwide by introducing the idea of the assembly line, which sprang from his own experiences (some sources cite Eli Olds with the original idea, and state that Ford executed it).

He was quite successful too. Even today, 150 years after Ford was born, you might still see a few vehicles on the road bearing his name.

Branson has said this: It is possible to turn dyslexia into a positive rather than a negative. I learned to focus on the things I was good at and delegate other tasks, a skill that set me in good stead to develop the whole Virgin Group. Having dyslexia means having to trust others to help you with tasks or do them on your behalf – this ability to let go is vital for entrepreneurs.


Steven Spielberg and Walt Dysney produced some of the most famous films and never let their dyslexia get in the way.


Agatha Christie famed for her murder mysteries and Hans Christian Andersen who told children’s stories wrote endlessly. In dealing with her dyslexia, Christie followed her own good advice. Christie followed her own advice: “I have learnt that I am me, that I can do the things that, as one might put it, me can do, but I cannot do the things that me would like to do.” Hans Christian Andersen’s writings have been studied in a medical paper – “Hans Christian Andersen’s spelling and syntax: allegations of specific dyslexia are unfounded.” Published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities.

There is an internet page that allows people to see if changing the background colour of a page assists clarity. It is a free dyslexia test.


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