FABRAY Nanette, 1920-present, (hearing impairment),
Born Ruby Nanette Fabares and made her debut in vaudeville at the age of 4. She had a
featured role in the popular Our Gang Comedy series on state and screen. In her
teens she was diagnosed with otosclerosis and suffered emotionally and physically with the
hearing impairment for most of her career. Some of her films were: Elizabeth and Essex
1939, A Child is Born 1940, The Band Wagon 1953, Happy Ending
1969, Harper Valley PTA 1978. She was the first person to sing and sign a song on
prime time television. She also did this on the Carol Burnett Comedy Hour which greatly
helped bring deaf awareness to television viewers.
FALK Peter, 1927-present, (visual impairment),
Best known for his role as televisions Columbo 1971-1978, 1989-1990. Won Emmy
Award 1972 and 1990. Due to an operation on his right eye due to a tumor at three years of
age he now has a glass eye.
FELICIANO Jose, 1945-present, (blind),
Musician. In 1984 he sang at the Statue of Liberty Celebration, performed with major
symphonies worldwide, composed some of his own music, received 6 Grammy Awards and 11
Grammy nominations. In 1973 he was considered Best Folk Guitarist award according
to Guitar Player Magazine.
FERRIGNO Lou, 1952-present, (hearing impairment),
American actor who played the Incredible Hulk is deaf.
FISHER Carrie, 1956 present, (bipolar),
American actress and writer. Daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Starred in Star
Wars trilogy 1977-1984, wrote novel and screen play Post Cards from the Edge
FITZGERALD F. Scott, 1896-1940, (learning disability),
Leading writer of Americas Jazz Age, the roaring twenties, and one of its glittering
heroes. This Side of Paradise 1920. The Great Gatsby 1925 was less popular
at the time.
FLAUBERT Gustave, 1821-1880, (epilepsy),
French author who had temporal lobe seizures which began at age 22, probably due to
childhood trauma. Distinctive novels of Realist School, authored Madame Bovary
FLYNT Larry, 1942-present, (spinal cord injury),
Publisher of Hustler Magazine 1974, Paralyzed in assassination attempt, film based
on his life, The People vs Larry Flynt 1996.
FORD Henry, 1863-1941, (learning disability),
Leading manufacturer of American automobiles in the early 1900s. Established the
Ford Motor Company which revolutionized the automobile industry with assembly line method
FORD John, 1895-1973, (visual impairment),
American director. Best known for western films including Stage Coach 1939, won six
FOX Michael J, 1961-present, (neuromuscular),
American television and movie actor. Won Emmy awards 1986 and 1987. Played Alex Keaton on
television series Family Ties 1982-1989. Starred in movie Back to the Future 1985.
Diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in the late 1990s.
FOX Terry, 1958-1981, (amputee),
In 1977 he discovered he had malignant tumor in his right leg, the leg was amputated six
inches above the knee. In 1979 he begin training for his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada
run to raise money for cancer research. During his training he ran 3000 miles. In 1980 he
runs an average 26 miles a day. After 143 days and 3339 miles he had to stop due to the
cancer spreading to his lungs. September 1980 he became the youngest companion of the
Order of Canada in a special ceremony in his hometown of Por Coquittan, B.C. In 1981
Terry's hope of raising $1.00 from every Canadian to fight cancer was realized. September
1981 the First Annual Terry Fox Run. Many people participated in the race.
FRANCIS Connie [Concetta Maria Franconero], 1938-present, (bipolar),
American singer. Popular, award winning vocalist, 1950's-1960's, made eight gold records,
starred in, sang title song for Where the Boys Are 1963.
FUNICELLO Annette, 1942-present, (physical impairment),
Actor and singer of the famous Disney Mouseketeer 1950's, star of Beach Party films of
1960's., diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1980s.
GALILEO [Galileo Galilei], 1564-1642, (visual impairment),
Italian astronomer and physicist, has been called the founder of modern experimental
science. He made the first effective use of the refracting telescope to discover important
new facts about astronomy. He became blind in his later years in part due to poor health.
GLENNIE Evelyn, 1965-present, (hearing impairment),
Musician and internationally renowned percussionist who lost most of her hearing in early
GLOVER Danny, 1947-present, (learning disability) (epilepsy),
American actor, starred in Places in the Heart 1984, The Color Purple 1985,
trilogy of Lethal weapon 1987-1992.
GOLD Tracey [Tracey Goldstein], 1969-present, (learning disability),
Known for her anorexia and her attention deficit disorder. Played Carol Seavers of Family
GOLDBERG Whoopi [Caryn E. Johnson], 1949-present (learning
American actor and comedian. Star of film The Color Purple 1985, Ghost
for which she won an Oscar, 1991, Eddie 1996. 1993 received the Woman of the Year
Award from Howard University. Hasty Pudding Theatricals Organization. Won People's Choice
Award 1993 and 1994.
GORE Thomas Pryor, 1870-1949, (visual impairment),
In 1907 upon the creation of the new state of Oklahoma, Gore was selected by the
legislature as one of the first two United States Senators. Youngest member of the senate
and the first blind person ever to serve in that chamber. Was Vice President Al Gore's
GOYA Francisco, 1746-1828, (hearing impairment),
A leading Spanish painter, was one of the first masters of modern art. His full name was
Jose' de Goya y Lucientes. In 1792 Goya became ill and gradually lost his hearing. In
1820, isolated by his deafness he returned to Madrid.
GRANDIN Temple, 1947-present, (autism),
Designer of livestock handling facilities and Assistant Professor of Animal Science at
Colorado State University.. At the age of three Temple was diagnosed with a form of
Autism. While in high school she spent a summer in Arizona with her aunt. Temple became
intrigued by the squeeze chute that held cows still for branding and inoculations. She
tried the shoot on herself to see how the cows felt. Back at school, Temple spent every
spare moment on building a squeeze chute of her own. She wanted to know why the machine's
gentle pressure calmed frightened cows. She went to a small college in Vermont and majored
in psychology. In 1971, Temple entered a master's program in psychology at the University
of Arizona and then switched to animal science. By the time she graduated she published
several papers on livestock - handling equipment, and she found many ways to improve
standard cattle chutes. Later she got her doctorate in animal science from the University
of Illinois. She wrote an autobiography Emergency: Labeled Autistic.
GWALTNEY John Langston, 1928-present, (visual impairment),
John was the first blind student to attend his local high school in Newark, NJ and he was
one of the top students in his class. Did his graduate work under Margaret Mead. With a
grant he was able to research about river blindness of the Chinantec tribe in Oaxaca,
Mexico He taught at Syracuse University in Anthropology for the rest of his career.
HAMPSHIRE Susan, 1942-present, (learning disability),
English actor, won Emmys in 1970, 1971, and 1973. Appeared in series The Forsythe Saga,
The First Churchills.
HANDEL George Frederick, 1685-1759, (epilepsy),
English composer, master of baroque music who composed 46 operas, best known work, The
HANNIBAL,247-183 BC, (epilepsy),
Greatest general and statesman of Carthage, an ancient North African city. His excellent
military strategy and leadership ability helped him over come great handicaps and defeat
armies much larger than his own. He united people of varied back grounds under his
HANSEN Rick [Man in Motion], 1959-present, (spinal cord injury)
Athlete who has won 19 International Wheelchair Marathons before 1985, then toured around
the world through 34 countries for two years to raise over $23 million for spinal cord
research and awareness. Recipient of the Order of Canada for his outstanding achievements.
HARRISON Rex Sir, 1908-1990, (visual impairment)
English actor. Won 1957 Tony, 1964 Oscar for role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.
Considered a master of light comedy. He was blind in one eye.
HAWKING Stephen, 1942-alive, (physical impairment),
Born in Oxford, England and oldest of four children. He was raised in a very close,
scholarly family. In the early 60's while at Cambridge university he noticed he was
stumbling a lot and his speech was slurred. In January 1963 when Steve was barely 21 years
old he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He returned to school and
received his Ph.D. in 1966. In 1977 he was the first professor of Gravitational Physics at
Cambridge University. Two years later, he achieved the highest position available at
Cambridge when he became a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. In 1988, he published a book
called A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes.
HEMINGWAY Ernest, 1899-1961, (mental disorder),
Novelist who suffered with suicidal depression. He suffered physical and mental illness
and committed suicide in 1961.
HEMINGWAY Margot [Magdux], 1955-1996, (epilepsy),
Actor and model, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, starred in Lipstick 1976,
killed herself by taking an over dose of phenobarbital.
HESELTINE Michael, 1933-present, (learning disability),
Welsh Government Official. Defense Minister in Margaret Thatchers conservative
government 1983-1992, Secretary of Parliament 1986-1992, Secretary Department of Trade and
HEUMANN Judy, 1947-present, (polio),
She contracted polio at 18 months. On and off she was discriminated against because she
could attend the public school. After high school she entered Long Island University. She
studied to be a teacher. She passed all the course work but failed the New York City Board
of Education medical exam. A person who used a wheelchair was automatically disqualified
from teaching in New York schools. Judy called the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) and
argued her civil rights were violated. ACLU refused to help. She fought back by contacting
a reporter from The New York Times. After the article, lawyers helped her win her case.
She got a new medical exam and passed. She taught disabled children. In 1970 she and some
friends started an organization called Disabled In Action (DIA). DIA lobbied legislators,
published articles and had demonstrations. From 1975 until 1982 she served as Deputy
Director of Center for Independent Living in Berkeley California. It is a think tank on
disability issues. On July 19 1993 she was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Education
under President Bill Clinton.
HOCKENBERRY John, 1956-present, (spinal cord injury),
Journalist. In February 1976 he was in a automobile accident that left his spine broken.
In 1975 he entered the University of Chicago as a mathematics major. He had just finished
his first semester when the accident occurred. Following rehabilitation he returned to the
University of Chicago. Due to winters and non-accessible classrooms he transferred to the
University of Oregon as a music major. He volunteered at KLCC a campus station affiliated
with National Public Radio. In May 1980 Mt. Saint Helens erupted. John prepared the
reports for NPR. Over the months that followed NPR sent John to cover more regional news
events. In 1981 John left college to work fulltime for NPR in Washington DC. For three
years he worked as a newscaster for the program All things Considered. John left
NPR in 1992 for a job with ABC television as a correspondent with a news magazine Day
One. In 1995 he switched to CNBC and in 1996 he joined NBC news as a reporter.
HOMER,850?BC-9th Century, (blind),
Poet and philosopher. Considered the ancient Greek poet who composed the great epic The
Iliad and the Odyssey.
HOTCHKISS Ralf, 1947-present, (physical impairment),
Wheelchair inventor and a paraplegic due to a college motorcycle accident.
INOUYE Daniel, 1924-present, (amputee),
Senator of Hawaii. In 1943 enlisted in the 442nd Combat Regiment, a unit composed of
Nisei, or Japanese-Americans. This unit became the most highly decorated military units in
US history. In 1945 Daniel Inouye served with valor as a platoon leader in Italys Po
Valley. Injuries to his arm were so severe he had to have it amputated. He returned home
and attended the University of Hawaii in 1947. He graduated from law school from George
Washington university in 1952. He volunteered to work with the Democratic National
Committee and learned the ins and outs of national politics. He was elected to the
Territorial House of Representatives. In 1954 he ran for his first congressional seat. He
was the first Asian-American ever elected to the US Senate.
JEFFERSON Thomas, 1743-1826, (learning disability),
Third President of the United States 1801-1809 and author of the Declaration of
Independence. Remembered as a great president, a diplomat, political thinker, and founder
of the Democratic Party. Reported to have many learning difficulties.
JENNER Bruce, 1949-present, (learning disability),
Olympic Decathlon champion who barely got through school. Diagnosed as a dyslexic and he
found that through spots he could hold his head up with friends and feel good about
himself. Sports gave him better self esteem. Won gold medal in decathlon 1960 Olympics.
JEWELL Geri, 1956-present, (cerebral palsy),
As a comedian with cerebral palsy, she does stand-up comedy and was on the television
series Facts of Life. She jokes about cerebral palsy and even exploits it.
JOAN of Arc, 1412-1431, (epilepsy),
A national heroine, Jeanne d Arc is the patron saint of France. She rescued France
from defeat in one of the darkest periods of the Hundred Year-War with England. She has
often been called the Maid of Orleans in honor of her victory with the siege to the city
of Orleans. The English saw her as an agent of the devil. She was imprisoned and tried on
charges of witchcraft and heresy. She continued to insist that her visions and voices came
from God. She was burned at the stake on May 30 1431. In 1455, her family asked for a new
trial to reconsider the charges against her. Pope Callistus III granted a hearing and in
1456 he pronounced her innocent. Pope Benedict XV declared her a saint in 1920. Her feast
day is the day of her death May 30.
JOHN Elton [Reginald Kenneth Dwight], 1947-present, (epilepsy),
English pop music composer and performer, has recorded over 25 albums, hits including Rocket
Man 1972, Philadelphia Freedom 1975, Wrap Her Up 1985, Grammy Award
1981, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
JOHNSON Erving [Magic] [Dr. J.], 1959-present, (learning
Magic Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to 5 NBA Championships in the 1980s. He
picked up three League MVPs and three Finals MVPs. In November 1991 he retired
because he contracted HIV. Learnind disability is in the area of reading.
JOHNSON Samuel, 1709-1784, (mental disorder),
Was known to have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Was the greatest English writer of his
day. His satire London 1738 written in the style of the Roman satirist Juvenal
brought him to the attention of the public. The Vanity of Human Wishes 1749 and
1755 he produced almost single-handedly the Dictionary of the English Language. In
1765 he edited an eight volume edition of Shakespeares plays.
JONES James Earl, 1931-present, (speech)
American actor who won Tonys for The Great White Hope 1969. Fences 1987, won
1991 Emmy for Gabriels Fire awarded National Medal of Arts 1992. Stuttered as
a child and used acting as a means to develop speaking skills.
JORDAN Barbara, 1936-1996, (multiple sclerosis),
She was a very strong willed woman. After hearing a black lawyer named Edith Sampson she
decided to become a lawyer. In 1959 she earned her law degree. In 1964 she ran for a seat
in the Texas House of Representative and failed. In 1966 she ran for a seat in the Senate
and became the first black woman to work in the Texas Senate. In 1971 she was elected to
the House of Representatives (United States Congress). In 1973 she was diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis of which confined her to a wheelchair. This did not stop her. She ran
for a fourth term in the house and won. She was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee
and found herself in the middle of a major political drama of the century (impeachment of
President Nixon). She also worked to improve conditions for the poor and those in need.
JORDAN Irving King, 1943-present, (hearing impairment),
Irvings life changed in an instant one night in 1964 when his motorcycle struck an
oncoming car. His skull was fractured. He became deaf at the age of 21. He adjusted to the
world around him and enrolled at Gallaudet University. He graduated in 1970 and went on to
obtain his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Tennessee and in 1973 he got his
degree and returned to Gallaudet to teach. In 1988 he became the President of Gallaudet
following a student protest for a deaf president. He became the first deaf president of
JOYCE James, 1882-1941, (visual impairment),
Irish novelist who revolutionized the treatment of plot and characterization in fiction.
Suffered painful eye disease for most of his adult life and became almost blind despite
KAHLO Frida, 1907-1954, (polio),
Known throughout the world for her unique and sometimes disturbing paintings.
KAHN Madeline, 1942-present, (speech impairment),
American actress. Oscar nominee for Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, star of
television series Oh Madeline 1983, won 1993 Tony for Sisters Rosenswing.
KEACH Stacy Jr., 1941-present, (cleft lip),
Actor starred in televisions Return of Mike Hammer 1984, 1986, 1987.
KEATS John, 1795-1821, (mental disorder),
Renowned English poet of the romantic period.
KELLER Helen, 1880-1968, (visual impairment) (hearing impairment),
Author,activist, lecturer and renowned humanitarian who lived an active physical life. She
wrote 14 books and innumerable magazine articles, gave lectures, hobnobbed with
presidents, traveled the globe on behalf of the blind, and became one of the most admired
women in America if not the world. She traveled around the world to bring a message of
hope and goodwill to millions of disabled people.
KENNEDY John F., 1917-1963, (learning disability),
35th President of the United States. Was the youngest man ever elected President. He was
also the youngest ever to die in office. He won world respect as the leader of the Free
KENNEDY Robert, 1925-1968, (learning disability),
Served as Attorney General of the United States from 1961-1964 and as U.S. Senator from
New York from 1965-1968.
KENNEDY Ted Jr., 1961-present, (amputee),
Edward M. Kennedy Jr. [Ted Kennedy Jr.]. Son of Joan and Edward M. Kennedy. Due to cancer
his right leg was amputated. Runner-up of the 1979 Valor in Sports Award. Attorney who
specializes in disability law.
KERREY Robert, 1943-present, (amputee),
Known as Joseph Robert Kerrey US Senator from Nebraska, 1989. Entrepreneur and developer,
Grandmothers Restaurant and several sports and fitness enterprises. Governor,
1983-1987, decorated for bravery during Vietnam War. Lost right leg in the Vietnam War.
KIDDER Margot, 1948-present, (bipolar),
American actor who portrayed Lois Lane in movies Superman 1978, Superman II
KIERKEGAARD Soren, 1813-1855, (epilepsy),
Danish Philosopher and theologian. Regarded as founder of existentialism, attacked
KISOR Henry, 1940-present, (hearing impairment),
Due to meningitis and encephalitis Henry became deaf at the age of three. He learned to
read lips. His mother used the Mirrielees system to understand language. He became a
skilled lip reader. Doris Irene Mirrielees believed deaf children could live productive
lives if they understand language. His first job was with the Evening Journal in
Wilmington DE. In 1965 he moved to Chicago and worked for the Daily News. In 1978
he was hired to work for the Chicago Sun-Times and continues to work there today.
In 1990 he published Whats That Pig Outdoors? A Memoir of Deafness.
LANGE Dorthea, 1895-1965, (polio),
Dorothea made her home in Northern California and owned her own photography studio. Some
of the most prominent families in San Francisco paid her to do their portraits. She was
hired in the 1930s to document the condition of the California farm-workers in
LANIER Hal, 1942-present, (epilepsy),
Baseball player and manager, Houston, 1986-1988, Infielder 1964-1973.
LEADBELLY [Huddie Ledbetter], 1885-1949, (physical impairment)
Known to the world as "Lead Belly" he survived a life that included extreme
poverty and long stretches in prison to become an emblematic folk singer and musician. He
is best remembered for his songs Rock Island Line, Goodnight Irene, The Midnight Special
and Cotton Fields. The latter part of his life included the onset of amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (Lou Gehrigs Disease).
LEAR Edward, 1812-1888, (epilepsy),
English artist and author of Nonsense Verse. He reportedly had complex partial
seizures everyday or two throughout adulthood. Limerick writer and known for Owl and
the Pussycat 1891.
LEIGH Vivien, 1913-1967, (mental disorder),
Stage and screen actor who starred in Gone with the Wind.
LENNON John, 1940-1980, (learning disability),
Founding member of the Beatles, most popular group in the history of rock music. Lennon
and Paul McCartney wrote most of the Beatles music. He played rhythm guitar, piano and
LERNER Alan Jay, 1918-1986, (visual impairment),
American dramatist, lyricist and composer. Known for collaboration with Loewe, won two
Tonys, two Oscars and a Grammy, including film/play Gigi 1958, 1974. He was
blind in one eye.
LEWIS Carl, 1961-present, (learning disability),
American athlete ranks among the greatest sprinters and long jumps in track and field
history. He twice set a world record in the 100 meter dash and ran the final leg on eight
world record relay teams. Competed in Olympic Games in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996. Won 9
gold medals which tied for highest total Olympic track and field history.
LINCOLN Abraham, 1809-1865, (mental disease),
16th President suffered from severe, incapacitating, and occasional suicidal depression.
LINDSAY Vachel, 1879-1931, (epilepsy),
American poet. Believed poetry should be performed rather than simply read. Some of his
poems, such as The Congo 1914 included stage directions. His poems feature strong
rhythm and vivid images.
LLOYD Harold, 1893-1971, (physical impairment),
American comedian and actor. Highest paid film star of 1920s, noted for
thrill-comedy scenes, won Special Oscar in 1952. He was missing two fingers from his right
LORDE Audre, 1934-1992, (visual impairment)
She was very nearsighted and loved to write poetry as a child. In 1960 she received her
masters degree in Library Science. Her first book of poetry was published in 1968 The
First Cities. In 1978 she published The Black Unicorn. Following a mastectomy
Andre examined many issues in American health care. In her book, The Cancer Journals,
she explores both the emotional and political aspects of having cancer.
LOUGANIS Greg, 1960-present, (learning disability),
Olympic diver has dyslexia and AIDS. Considered the greatest diver in history.
LOW Juliette Gordon 1860-1927, (hearing impairment),
Founder of the Girl Scouts. Due to childhood illness that left her susceptible to
infections she became hearing impaired.