Warning! "Famous people with autism" coming to a list near you!
A list of famous people with autism should come with a health warning! There appears to be an unhealthy race to see who can be the next celebrity with autism.
Now,I may be biased or perhaps I'm just a natural cynic.
Whatever! The more I researched this topic in order to provide you with the most accurate information on famous people with autism the more I realised that a "complete" list would be life long accomplishment! So,the diagnosis of famous people with autism is on the rise!
Initially, this was not an area I thought would have any benefit for those who were connected with autism in any way. However, I realised that a lot of people using the internet thought otherwise!
I asked a friend of mine who has lived all his life being categorised as "disabled" as to why this could be? His answer was both enlightening and just a tad humbling......"If they can succeed with a disability it gives hope and encouragement for all of us!" was his reply. I was acutley aware that my
advice for others to "Walk in their Mocassins" was, in this case, sorely lacking on my part.
Historical: Famous people with autism
Please remember that this list should no way be regarded as "fact". Do your own reading on the diagnosis and definition of autism and make your own judgements.
Jane Austen 1775-1817,English novelist, author of Pride and Prejudice Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827, German/Viennese composer Alexander Graham Bell 1847-1922, Scottish/Canadian/American inventor of the telephone Anton Bruckner 1824-1896, Austrian compo Henry Cavendish 1731-1810, English/French scientist,discovered the composition of air and water Emily Dickinson 1830-1886, American poet Thomas Edison 1847-1931, US inventor
Albert Einstein 1879-1955, German/American theoretical physicist Henry Ford 1863-1947, US industrialist Kaspar Hauser c1812-1833, German foundling, portrayed in a film by Werner Herzog Oliver Heaviside 1850-1925, English physicist
Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826, American politician
Carl Jung 1875-1961, Swiss psychoanalyst
Franz Kafka 1883-1924, Czech writer
Wasily Kandinsky 1866-1944, Russian/French painter
H P Lovecraft 1890-1937, American writer
Ludwig II 1845-1886, King of Bavaria
Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1868-1928, Scottish architect and designer
Gustav Mahler 1860-1911, Czech/Austrian composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791, Austrian composer
Newton 1642-1727, English mathematician and physicist
Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900, German philosopher
Bertrand Russell 1872-1970, British logician
George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950, Irish playwright, writer of Pygmalion,critic and Socialist
Richard Strauss 1864-1949, German composer
Nikola Tesla 1856-1943, Serbian/American scientist, engineer, inventor of electric motors
Henry Thoreau 1817-1862, American
Alan Turing 1912-1954, English mathematician, computer scientist and cryptographer
Mark Twain 1835-1910, American humorist
Vincent Van Gogh1853-1890, Dutch painter
Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889-1951, Viennese/English logician and philosopher
Virginia Woolf Prolific writer rumoured to only write standing up
Andrew Jackson Former President of America
Vincent van Gogh An eccentric, yet extremely talented, artist who is said to have exhibited some traits of autism
Contemporary: Famous people with autism
Woody Allen 1935-, American comedian, actor, writer, director, producer, jazz clarinettist
Tony Benn 1925-, English Labour politician
Bob Dylan 1941-, American singer-songwriter
Joseph Erber 1985-, young English composer/musician who has Asperger’s Syndrome
Bobby Fischer 1943-, American chess champion
Crispin Glover 1964-, American actor
Al Gore 1948-, former American Vice President
Jeff Greenfield 1943-, American political analyst/speechwriter
David Helfgott 1947-, Australian pianist, subject of the film "Shine"
Michael Jackson 1958-, American singer
Keillor 1942-, American writer, humorist and host of Prairie Home Companion
Kevin Mitnick 1963-, American “hacker”
John Motson 1945-, English sports commentator
John Nash 1928-, American mathematician (portrayed by Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind", 2001)
Keith Olbermann 1959-, American sportscaster
Michael Palin 1943-, English comedian and presenter
Keanu Reeves 1964-, Lebanese/Canadian/American actor
Oliver Sacks 1933-, UK/US neurologist, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings
Daryl Hannah-Actress diagnosed with borderline autism
Andy Warhole An artist whose lifestyle is believed to suggest possible autism
Courtney Love Widow of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain diagnosed with mild autism at three years old
Hikari Oe Famous Japanese composer said to be autistic
Dylan Scott Pierce A wildlife illustrator who is considered a high functioning autistic
Donna WilliamsBest known as an Australian author of "Nobody Nowhere" and "Somebody Somewhere" diagnosed with autism in her 20's
Sue Reubin The subject of the documentary "Autism is a World"
Andy Kaufman Famous comic and actor whose odd behavior may indicate autism
Tony Attwood (Autism Asperger’s Digest, November/December 2000) Wrote of his interest in examining the biographies and autobiographies of famous deceased scientists, engineers, politicians, authors and composers. He puts forward the idea that reports of their unusual childhood and profile of abilities could be indicative of Asperger’s Syndrome. His list includes, Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Mozart, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Glenn Gould and Alan Turing.
Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes by Jennifer Elder.
This book is filled with inspirational and historical stories about autistic people who conquered their differences and
achieved great accomplishments in the fields of science, art, math, literature, philosophy and comedy. Even if the diagnosis of autism/Aspergers
is not scientifically" correct it does offer hope and encouragement from people who have been labeled "different" to others who live with
the fact that others find them "different"
As Temple Grandin wrote, "This book will help inspire kids who are different and shows them that they too can succeed."
Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts(2005) by Michael Fitzgerald
This is a selection of mini biographies of famous artists, writers, musicians and painters. Indications of Asperger
syndrome are gleaned from what is known about the sort of people they were. It begins with the premise that autism
and creativity are linked
Fitzgerald also assumes that the cause of the behaviours he describes or caused by autism. Whilst the book does not
take an objective look at the topic (far from it!) it is an interesting view point and well worth the read.
Asperger's Syndrome and High Achievement: Some Very Remarkable People - (2005) by Ioan James
From Michaelangelo to Andy Warhole this book offers some insightful descriptions. However, the auther does flag up a "caution" in that, as in all fields of psychology/psychiatry, there are many contrasting viewpoints. Thankfully, the reader who likes to make up their own mind is well served with an extensive bibliography.
When I first started writing for this site I made it clear that my approach to teaching, learning and support was always going to be a personal one. Of course I don't fall into the category of "famous people with autism" but just what would a researcher of the future make of my "traits"
1. I can not sit in a restaurant with my back facing the door
2. In the days when nappies were made with cloth two edges had red stripes on them. I always made sure the red stripes were at the top and bottom
3. I do not mix the colour of the pegs when hanging out washing
4. I can not sit and look at a crooked picture (although if I am a guest I will wait until my host has left the room before straightening it!