They’re bold, famous and beautifully jaded. People who changed history, delivered groundbreaking equations of the universe, made life long careers in art or had the sound of their music travel around the globe have been diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder manifested through impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as repetitive behaviours. Here’s a chronological list of some of the most famous people with autism throughout history:
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart became famous for his legendary contribution to classical music, as well for being one of the first people thought to have Asperger’s. For the most, his life revolved around experimenting with music. He lived on a metaphorical island and spread his wonders all over the world, but he was moody, sometimes impolite and often lacked capacity to focus on conversations.
2. Albert Einstein
The most popular scientist in history is remembered as daydreaming, fun and witty, other than being a genius. There were no records of autism back in the day. The disorder was discovered in the 1940s, when the syndrome was given its name. For Einstein, despite an enormous IQ and a strike of unearthly brilliance, life has been often contradictory, making him a highly sensitive introvert who had trouble finding work or relating to people.
3. Andy Warhol
The father of Pop Art was an eccentric, outgoing, naturally charismatic individual, but he is believed to have had Asperger’s. He was a revolutionary for American art but often displayed split behavior and changing moods, translated into his work, relationships and volatile speech. He is famous for answering lengthy interviews with Yes’s and No’s solely.
4. Stanley Kubrik
Like Mozart, Warhol and Einstein, Kubrick was born in a time when autism was not yet labeled. So it took nearly two decades of anguish for the troubled teenager to sort out himself. Kubrik later went into therapy and was diagnosed in retrospect, analyzing his own interiorized mind and his unconscious orientation to making extraordinary art in detriment of developing successful social skills.
5. Daryl Hannah
Daryl Hannah has a history with autism, spanning her childhood, when she was diagnosed, and her whole adult life. The Blade Runner actress had a quiet childhood and never got used to the fame attributed to her vocation and career. She refused to give interviews for a fairly long time and only later accepted to open up in public about her struggle with autism.
6. Tim Burton
Most beloved and quirky Tim Burton is believed to fall inside the autism spectrum or to have Asperger’s. It was actually wife Helena Bonham Carter who began studying the possibility Burton suffered of autism after she researched the syndrome for a role. Burton admitted his famous debut, Edward Scissorhands, is a metaphor for his magical, yet troubled childhood.
7. Courtney Love
Rock star Courtney Love grew up in a troubled home. She was split in between her family’s issues and public school detention. She got her diagnose for autism at 9 and struggled with a life that, beyond sex, drugs and a famous marriage to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, was deeply affected by her disorder. Although her occasional delinquencies cannot be directly linked to autism, her lyrics deeply reflect her inner battle.
8. Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer who hypnotized the audience at Britain’s Got Talent and became famous thanks to her out-of-this-world voice and performance, admitted to have been diagnosed with Asperger’s. Boyle spoke out on her brain dysfunction and expressed gratitude towards having an exact name and anthology for the disease, in this way, less charged with stigma than depression or other disorders.
These are only a few examples of famous people with autism. They prove that one can achieve anything despite seemingly impossible to pass obstacles.
Image Sources: parade.com, moviepilot.com, Collider.com, fullwp.org, Playbuzz.org, Wikipedia, pbs.org, openculture.org