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Tampa Mayor's Alliance For Persons With Disabilities

Famous Persons with Disabilities
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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 television’s 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 1985.

FITZGERALD F. Scott, 1896-1940, (learning disability),
Leading writer of America’s 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 1857.

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 1900’s. Established the Ford Motor Company which revolutionized the automobile industry with assembly line method of production.

FORD John, 1895-1973, (visual impairment),
American director. Best known for western films including Stage Coach 1939, won six Oscars.

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 Parkinson’s 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 childhood.

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 Ties.

GOLDBERG Whoopi [Caryn E. Johnson], 1949-present (learning disability),
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 great-grandfather.

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 Messiah 1741.

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 command.

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 Thatcher’s conservative government 1983-1992, Secretary of Parliament 1986-1992, Secretary Department of Trade and Industry 1992.

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 Italy’s 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 disability),
Magic Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to 5 NBA Championships in the 1980’s. He picked up three League MVP’s and three Finals MVP’s. 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 Shakespeare’s plays.

JONES James Earl, 1931-present, (speech)
American actor who won Tonys for The Great White Hope 1969. Fences 1987, won 1991 Emmy for Gabriel’s 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),
Irving’s 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 Gallaudet University.

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 many operations.

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 television’s 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 World.

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, Grandmother’s 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 1981.

KIERKEGAARD Soren, 1813-1855, (epilepsy),
Danish Philosopher and theologian. Regarded as founder of existentialism, attacked organized religion.

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 What’s 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 1930’s to document the condition of the California farm-workers in photographs.

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 Gehrig’s 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 sang.

LERNER Alan Jay, 1918-1986, (visual impairment),
American dramatist, lyricist and composer. Known for collaboration with Loewe, won two Tony’s, 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 1920’s, noted for thrill-comedy scenes, won Special Oscar in 1952. He was missing two fingers from his right hand.

LORDE Audre, 1934-1992, (visual impairment)
She was very nearsighted and loved to write poetry as a child. In 1960 she received her master’s 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.