More On Famous People With Mental Illness

by Bill Brenner on December 7, 2009

A good list on the subject is available from the  National Alliance on Mental Illness, NH branch. A few of those on the list:

Art Buchwald, Columnist


Drew Carey, Actor


Winston Churchill

    “Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished,” wrote Anthony Storr about Churchill’s bipolar disorder in Churchill’s Black Dog, Kafka’s Mice, and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind.

Charles Dickens, Writer

    One of the greatest authors in the English language suffered from clinical depression, as documented in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb, and Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph by Edgar Johnson.

Tony Dow, Actor


Patty Duke, Actress

      • Bipolar disorder
        The celebrated artist’s bipolar disorder is discussed in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb and Dear Theo, The Autobiography of Van Gogh.
        Bipolar disorder

The Academy Award-winning actress told of her bipolar disorder in her autobiography and made-for-TV move Call Me Anna and A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness, co-authored by Gloria Hochman.

Ted Turner, Businessman

Vincent Van Gogh, Painter

Sol Wachtler, Former New York State Chief Judge

Mike Wallace, Television Journalist

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barton July 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

I think this is a highly relevant issue. Why? Because, we look to famous people in our society (current and historical) for inspiration. We generally admire these people. At the same time, those “ordinary” people with mental health issues are generally stigmatized in our society and as such are marginalized. They suffer terribly as a result.

So, when we note that the famous people we admire (even idolize) are also human, with mental health issues it forces us to consider the breadth of the problem. More importantly, it forces us to consider that those with mental health problems CAN succeed and rise up socially (and otherwise). Finally, and especially when famous people speak out, it helps to reduce stigma – and we really, badly need that now more than ever.


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