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Famous People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities

  • "He told me that his teachers reported that . . . he was mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams." — Hans Albert Einstein, on his father, Albert Einstein (His name is practically synonymous with "genius", widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century, recipient of a Nobel Prize for Physics, known especially for his "Theory of Relativity.")
  • "Perhaps had I not been dyslexic, I might have chosen a different profession. Acting gave me a way of expressing some of that inner life that was raging inside of me as a result of my dyslexia." "Kids made fun of me because I was dark skinned, had a wide nose, and was dyslexic. Even as an actor, it took me a long time to realize why words and letters got jumbled in my mind and came out differently."— Danny Glover, Danny Glover (Actor in over 70 movies, including "Lethal Weapon" and "Predator"; Producer; college graduate; Either nominated for or won over 25 awards, including "Outstanding Lead Actor" and "Lifetime Achievement Award.") 
  • "As a child, I was called stupid and lazy. On the SAT I got 159 out of 800 in Math. My parents had no idea that I had a learning disability." —Henry Winkler (Actor in over 35 films, including playing "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in the hit TV show, Happy Days; producer of 34 films, Director of 10.  Included in a list of the top 100 TV characters for his role as "Fonzie.")
  • "I was one of the 'puzzle children' myself — a dyslexic . . . And I still have a hard time reading today. Accept the fact that you have a problem. Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. You have a challenge; never quit!" — Nelson Rockefeller (Governor of New York, 41st Vice President of the United States; Advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower) 
  • "I never read in school. I got really bad grades--D's and F's and C's in some classes, and A's and B's in other classes. In the second week of the 11th grade, I just quit. When I was in school, it was really difficult. Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening. My report cards always said that I was not living up to my potential." —Cher (Famous actress, entertainer, singer)
  • "When I had dyslexia, they didn't diagnose it as that. It was frustrating and embarrassing. I could tell you a lot of horror stories about what you feel like on the inside." — Nolan Ryan (Record-Breaking Baseball Pitcher; 8-Time All Star; All-Time Record of 5,714 strikeouts, Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame) 
  • "As a high school student, many of my teachers labeled me DUMB... I knew who the real dummies were. I barely graduated…There was no way I was going to college- I never even thought about it. I could barely read my textbooks." — Muhammad Ali (One of the worlds' greatest and most famous boxers; crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated; Included in Time Magazine's "Top 100 People of the Century")
  • "Having made a strenuous effort to understand the symbols he could make nothing of, he wept giant tears..." — Caroline Commanville, on her uncle, Gustave Flaubert, considered one of the greatest novelists of the Western world.
  • "I was, on the whole, considerably discouraged by my school days. It was not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the beginning of the race." He was regularly punished in school for failure or lack of effort, sometimes failing the same class numerous times. — Winston Churchill (Regarded as one of the greatest leaders in all of history, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, journalist, author, politician, recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature)
  • "I, myself, was always recognized . . . as the "slow one" in the family. It was quite true, and I knew it and accepted it. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was . . . an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day." — Agatha Christie (the great mystery writer whose books sold more copies [over one billion!] than anyone other than William Shakespeare.)
  • "My teachers say I'm addled...my father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce." — Thomas Edison (One of, if not the most prolific inventor of all time, holding a record 1093 patents; founder of Science journal.)
  • "My father was an angry and impatient teacher and flung the reading book at my head."
    William Butler Yeats. "Willie was sent to lessons in spelling and grammar, but he never learned to spell. To the end of his life he produced highly idiosyncratic versions of words."
    — Biographer A. Norman Jeffares on William Butler Yeats (Poet, recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature, Irish Senator)
  • "I grew up in a school system...where nobody understood the meaning of learning disorder. In the West Indies , I was constantly being physically abused because the whipping of students was permitted." — Harry Belafonte (actor, singer [made the first album to sell over 1,000,000 copies], civil rights leader, winner of a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement)
  • "Since I was the stupidest kid in my class, it never occurred to me to try and be perfect, so I've always been happy as a writer just to entertain myself. That's an easier place to start." — Stephen J. Cannell (Actor and Emmy Award winning TV producer, writer and novelist, having created or co-created over 40 different shows, produced or executive produced 1500 episodes)
  • "I had to train myself to focus my attention. I became very visual and learned how to create mental images in order to comprehend what I read." — Tom Cruise (Ranked by Empire Magazine as one of the top five movie stars of all time, receiving salaries of $25 Million for single films)
  • "You should prefer a good scientist without literary abilities than a literate one without scientific skills." — Leonardo da Vinci (THE Renaissance Man, painter, sculptor, inventor, scientist, writer.)
  • "I barely made it through school. I read real slow. But I like to find things that nobody else has found, like a dinosaur egg that has an embryo inside. Well, there are 36 of them in the world, and I found 35." — Dr. John R. Horner (Regents Professor of Paleontology and
    Curator of Paleontology)
  • "I am, myself, a very poor visualizer and find that I can seldom call to mind even a single letter of the alphabet in purely retinal terms. I must trace the letter by running my mental eye over its contour in order that the image of it shall leave any distinctness at all." — William James (Incredibly diverse intellectual who taught Philosophy, Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology at Harvard)
  • "I just barely got through school. The problem was a learning disability, at a time when there was nowhere to get help." — Bruce Jenner (Olympic gold medalist, motivational speaker, TV personality, sports commentator, entrepreneur, actor, producer, and representative of companies such as Visa, MCI, and Coca-Cola)
  • "The looks, the stares, the giggles . . . I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read."—"Magic" Johnson (one of the top Basketball players of all time)
  • "Young George . . . although he was bright and intelligent and bursting with energy, he was unable to read and write. Patton's wife corrected his spelling, his punctuation, and his grammar." — Biographer Martin Blumenson on General George Patton (Brilliant World War II General)
  • "I couldn't read. I just scraped by. My solution back then was to read classic comic books because I could figure them out from the context of the pictures. Now I listen to books on tape." — Charles Schwab (Heads of one of the largest investment firms, appearing in Forbes' lists of World's Richest People and America's Most Powerful People.) 
  • "My problem was reading very slowly. My parents said 'Take as long as you need. As long as you're going to read, just keep at it.'  We didn't know about learning disabilities back then."
    Roger Wilkins (Head of the Pulitzer Prize Board)


Most of these quotes were taken from Susan Barton’s “Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, LLC” website. Fuller descriptions added by Steve Miller. To learn more about dyslexia, go to: http://www.BrightSolutions.US