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Famous People Who Stuttered

James Stewart, 15 October 1934

James Stewart, 15 October 1934 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of you who know me as Mike Dellosso know I stutter and have stuttered my entire life. When I was a kid all the way up through college it was bad, I mean couldn’t-string-together-three-words bad. If you’ve ever seen the movie The King’s Speech you know what I’m talking about.

But along the way my perspective changed and I’ve learned to manage the stuttering (I’ll share that story in the near future). Sure, there are still times when I get stuck and the word just refuses to pass my lips, my tongue locks up, throat constricts, and I’m in a full-on block. But those times are mostly rare now.

While stuttering only affects about 1% of the population there have been some very recognizable names who have struggled with the impediment. Some you may already know about; some may suprise you.

James Earl Jones — Actor James Earl Jones, a Broadway, television, and movie star, is well-known for his voice as Darth Vader in Star Wars.

Nicole Kidman — Award-winning actress

Emily Blunt — Golden Globe Award-winning actress

Mel Tillis — This country music star and songwriter was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the lifetime achievement award in 2007. He has also been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

Bruce Willis — Having starred in more than 60 movies, he became popular in the late 1980s with the Die Hard series.

Jimmy Stewart — He is considered one of the finest actors of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Carly Simon — She has an Oscar, two Grammys, a Golden Globe, as well as several hit records.

Marilyn Monroe — This actress and singer is one of the most popular movie stars of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Harvey Keitel — Before becoming a famous actor, Keitel was a freelance court reporter in New York City.

Mike Rowe — An actor and opera singer, he currently hosts Dirty Jobs and Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

Marc Anthony — Pop singer.

B.B. King — American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Samuel L. Jackson — An award-winning actor.

Tiger Woods — He is one of the most successful golfers of all time.

Kenyon Martin — Basketball star Kenyon Martin has been a two-time member of basketball’s Team USA and was selected to the 2004 NBA All-Star Team.

Johnny Damon — This Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and designated hitter is among the top of active major leaguers in runs, hits, and stolen bases since the 2000 season.

Darren Sproles — This NFL star is a football running back and return specialist.

Bill Walton — This NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer is recognized as a well-known NBC Sports commentator.

Greg Louganis — This diving champion is probably best known for winning back-to-back Olympic titles in both the 3m and 10m diving events.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter — A former prizefighter, Carter earned an honorary championship title belt in 1993 by the World Boxing Council.

Herschel Walker — This Heisman Trophy winning running back played for the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants.

Shaquille O’Neal — The former NBA player and a current television sports analyst.

Lewis Carroll — This British writer’s most famous works include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Jane Seymour — This English actress is probably best known for co-starring in the James Bond film Live and Let Die and on the TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Andrew Lloyd Webber — As a highly successful English composer, he is probably most famous for Cats and Phantom of the Opera.

Charles Darwin — This British naturalist is probably best known for his work The Origin of Species.

John Gregory Dunne — American novelist was a journalist, screenwriter, essayist, and literary critic.

John Stossel — An award-winning journalist, this former 20/20 co-anchor is now with Fox News.

Byron Pitts — Correspondent for 60 Minutes, Pitts is an Emmy award-winning journalist and author of Step Out on Nothing.

Vice President Joseph Biden — He began his long political career when he was first elected to the Senate in 1973 at the age of 30, making him the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history.

Winston Churchill — He served as the British prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 until 1955.

King George VI — The king was an inspiration to his country during World War II when he addressed the empire in radio broadcasts. The King’s Speech, an award-winning movie, highlights his courage.

Annie Glenn — Wife of former astronaut Senator John Glenn, she is active in community service.

Col. Joshua Chamberlain — The Union colonel in the Civil War was wounded several times and, according to historians, was an inspiration and a hero to his men.

(This is only a partial list. The full list can be found at The Stuttering Foundation).


About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.


11 thoughts on “Famous People Who Stuttered

  1. Mike,
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I, too, have stuttered my whole life. And at times mine has been worse, too. Right now, I can get the words out 90-95% of the time and even do voiceovers for videos for the company where I work as a writer. But there are still times where I just can’t get the words out, no matter what. It can be so frustrating and embarassing.But it is nice to know you are in good company.

    Posted by tbusbey | April 26, 2012, 6:53 am
  2. Wow, Mike. I was amazed at the people on this list who made there careers out of speaking. That is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by thepottersclayhsa | April 26, 2012, 8:32 am
  3. This was enlightening and encouraging. Thank you.

    Posted by goldenprayerbear | April 26, 2012, 9:57 am
  4. Interesting list! A lot of these people are a surprise! The biggest surprise of all though is that Mike Rowe is an actor and opera singer! I just know him from Dirty Jobs! 🙂

    Posted by Angela Foltz | April 26, 2012, 10:12 am
    • Angie, wow, I didn’t know that that’s who that was (is that too many thats in a sentence? LOL). I was surprised too by Jane Seymour and James Earl Jones (I knew he didn’t talk when he was younger but I didn’t know that was why).

      Posted by thepottersclayhsa | April 26, 2012, 10:24 am
    • I only know him from the Ford commercials. Would love to hear him sing.

      Posted by michaelkingbooks | April 26, 2012, 11:06 am
      • Mike,
        If you’d like to come over and watch some “boy” TV with my guys they’d love to introduce you to Dirty Jobs, IceRoad Truckers, and Recreation Nation. 🙂 We only have Netflix so they enjoy these and also Leave it to Beaver, Dennis the Menace, and Knight Rider.

        Posted by Angela Foltz | April 26, 2012, 9:50 pm
  5. Thank you for sharing this. My oldest boy stutters. He’ll repeat groupings of words or sounds when he is very focused on what he wants to say. We have to remind him to slow down, take a breath, and focus his words. It seems to help. I’m glad he has so much to say. :).

    Posted by Heidi | April 26, 2012, 2:26 pm
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