Role Models

Successful People with Mental Illness

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Several Years ago our NAMI friends came out with a poster "People with Mental Illness Enrich Our Lives"  listing famous and successful people with mental illness. The idea was to increase public awareness of the contributions of people with mental illness. The poster was also a confirmation that people with mental illnesses could accomplish anything. Equally, the poster helped "us" realize that a mental health diagnosis didn't end our life's potential.
Mental Health Advocacy Inc., building on a great idea and using only names already published elsewhere, expanded the list to make it absolutely obivious that our success is NOT a collection of "exceptions to the rule" but a common occurrence. Looking at successful people with mental illness inspires us to set aside our own self-stigma and try to work towards success in life. Although we struggle, we all have a place in the world and each of us has skills and talents yet unexplored.
This page is also educational to our helpers and family members as an illustration that we with mental illnesses can achieve anything with the right supports. We ask for encouragemant instead of discouragement. Postitve feedback, awareness of new insights and support of our efforts builds the likeliness of our recovery. We hope you'll develop an optimistic outlook about us, because we reflect your attitudes in our self-image.
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Tom Harrell - jazz musician
Meera Popkin, Broadway Star
John Nash - Mathematician/Nobel Prize Winner
Albert Einstein's son - Eduard Einstein
Dr. James Watson's son (Dr. Watson is co-discover of DNA and Nobel Prize winner)
Alan Alda's Mother (Alan Alda is the famous TV actor from the series MASH)
Andy Goram - Scottish Soccer Player/Goal Keeper
Lionel Aldridge - Superbowl-winning Football Player
Peter Green, Guitarist for the band Fleetwood Mac
Syd Barrett of the band Pink Floyd
Alexander "Skip" Spence and Bob Mosley - both members of the 1960's rock group Moby Grape (and Jefferson Airplane for Skip Spence)
Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson, of the Austin-based 1960's group TheThirteenth Floor Elevators
Patricia Deegan PhD - Consumer movement Leader
Fred Frese Phd
Daniel Fisher MD, PhD
Joe Meek - 1960's British record producer
James Beck Gordon (Jim Gordon) - James Gordon had been, quite simply, one of the greatest drummers of his time
Charles "Buddy" Bolden - Jazz Musician
Antoin Artaud - Dramatist, Artist
Mary Todd Lincoln - wife of Abraham Lincoln (past-President of the United States)
Vaclav Nijinsky - Famous Russian Dancer
Jack Kerouac - Author, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia
Tennessee Williams' sister Rose Williams had schizophenia
(source:Tennessee WilliamsNotebooks,Edited by Margaret Bradham Thornton,Yale University Press, 2007)


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Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders
Andrew Carnegie - Railroad tycoon
Malcolm Forbes - New Jersey Senator, Magazine publisher  
Henry Ford - Industrialist
David Neeleman - CEO Blue Jet Airways
Paul Orfalea - Founded Kinko's

Christopher Columbus
Lewis and Clark

Ann Bancroft
Jim Carrey
Steve McQueen
Jack Nicholson
Ty Pennington
Elvis Presley
Evil and Robbie Knievel
Justin Timberlake
Alexander Graham Bell
Thomas Edison
Benjamin Franklin

Ansel Adams

Albert Einstein - OCD

Political Figures
James Carville
John F. Kennedy
Abraham Lincoln
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Al Kasha  - (songwriter)
Alanis Morisette  -
Alfred Lord Tennyson -
Ann Wilson -
Anne Tyler -
Anthony Hopkins -
Aretha Franklin -
Barbara Bush -
(former First Lady - U.S.)
Barbara Gordon -
Barbra Streisand -  
Beverly Johnson -  
Bonnie Raitt -
Burt Reynolds -
Carly Simon -
Charles Schultz -
Charlotte Bronte -
Cher -
(singer, actress)
Courtney Love -
(singer - actress)
Dave Stewart -
(singer of the Eurythmics)
David Bowie -
Dean Cain -
Deanna Carter -
Dick Clark -
(television personality)
Donny Osmond -
Earl Campbell -
(Heisman Trophy winner)
Edie Falco -
Edvard Munch -
Emily Dickinson -
Eric Clapton -
Goldie Hawn -
Howard Stern - 
(king of media)
Howie Mandel -
Isaac Asimov -
James Garner -
Jim Eisenreich -
Joan Rivers -
John Candy -
John Cougar Mellencamp -
(musician, actor)
John Madden -
John Steinbeck -
John Stuart Mill -
Johnny Depp -
Kim Basinger -
Lani O'Grady -
Leila Kenzle -
Marie Osmond -
Marty Ingels -
Michael Crichton -
Michael English -
(Gospel artist)
Michael Jackson -
Naomi Campbell -
Naomi Judd -
Nicholas Cage -
Nicole Kidman -
Nikola Tesla -
Olivia Hussey -
Oprah Winfrey -
(billionaire, tv network)
Pete Harnisch -
Ray Charles -
Robert Burns -
Robert McFarlane -
(former U.S. National curity Advisor)
Robin Quivers -
(radio host)
Roseanne Barr -
Sally Field -
Sam Shepard -
Shecky Greene -
Sheryl Crow -
Sigmund Freud -
Sir Isaac Newton -
Sir Laurence Olivier -
Sissy Spacek -
Susan Powter -
(tv host)
Tom Snyder -
Tony Dow -
(actor director)
W.B. Yeats -
Willard Scott -
Winona Ryder - (actress)
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Actors & Actresses
Ned Beatty
Maurice Bernard - Soap opera
Jeremy Brett
Jim Carey
Lisa Nicole Carson
Rosemary Clooney - Singer, Star in White Christmas
Lindsay Crosby
Eric Douglas
Robert Downey Jr.
Patty Duke
Carrie Fisher - Princess Leah in Star Wars
Connie Francis - Singer and actress
Shecky Greene - Comedian
Linda Hamilton
Moss Hart - Actor, director, playright
Mariette Hartley
Margot Kidder
Vivien Leigh
Kevin McDonald -  Comedian
Kristy McNichols
Burgess Meredith - Actor, director
Spike Milligan - Actor, writer
Spike Mulligan - Comic actor and writer
Nicola Pagett
Ben Stiller - Actor, director, writer
David Strickland
Lili Taylor
Tracy Ullman
Jean-Claude Van Damme - Movie star, martial arts
Robin Williams - Comedian, Movis star
Jonathon Winters - Comedian, Movie star
Alvin Alley - dancer, choreogapher
Ludwig Von Beethoven
Tim Burton - artist, director
Francis Ford Coppola - director
George Fredrick Handel - composer
Bill Lichtenstein - producer
Joshua Logan - broadway director, producer
Vincent Van Gogh - painter
Gustav Mahier - composer
Francesco Scavullo - artist, photographer
Robert Schumann - composer
Don Simpson - movie producer
Norman Wexler - screenwriter, playwright
Robert Campeau
Pierre Peladeau
Heinz C. Prechter
John Mulheren
Murray Pezim

Buzz Aldrin - astronaut
Clifford Beers - humanitarian
Larry Flynt - publisher and activist
Kit Gingrich - Newt's mom
Phil Graham - owner of Washington Post
Peter Gregg - team owner and manager, race car driver
Susan Panico - (Susan Dime-Meenan), business executive
Sol Wachtier - former New York State Chief Judge

Ludwig van Beethoven - composer
Alohe Jean Burke - musician, vocalist
Rosemary Clooney - singer
DMX Earl Simmons - rapper and actor
Ray Davies 
Lenny Dee
Gaetano Donizetti - opera singer
Peter Gabriel
Jimi Hendrix
Kristen Hersh - (Throwing Muses)
Phyllis Hyman
Jack Irons
Daniel Johnston
Otto Klemperer - musician, conductor
Oscar Levant - pianist, composer, television
Phil Ochs - musician, political activist, poet
John Ogden - composer, musician
Jaco Pastorius
Charley Pride
Mac Rebennack - (Dr. John)
Jeannie C. Riley
Alys Robi - vocalist in Canada
Axl Rose
Nick Traina
Del Shannon
Phil Spector - musician and producer
Sting, Gordon Sumner - musician, composer
Tom Waits - musician, composer
Brian Wilson - musician, composer, arranger
Townes Van Zandt - musician, composer

John Berryman
C.E. Chaffin, writer, poet
Hart Crane
Randall Jarrell
Jacques Jarrup
Jane Kenyon
Robert Lowell
Sylvia Plath
Robert Schumann
Delmore Schwartz

Robert Boorstin - special assistant to President Clinton
Garnet Coleman - legislator (Texas)
L. Brent Bozell - 
political scientist, attorney, writer
Bob Bullock - 
ex secretary of state, state comptroller and lieutenant governer 
Winston Churchill - Prime Minister of England
Kitty Dukasis - 
former First Lady of Massachusetts
Thomas Eagleton - 
lawyer, former U.S. Senator
Lynne Rivers -  U.S. Congress
Theodore Roosevelt - President of the United States

John Strugnell - biblical scholar Scientists
Karl Paul Link - Chemist
Dimitri Mihalas

Shelley Beattie - bodybuilding, sailing
John Daly - golf
Johnny Dudley - world cup soccer
Muffin Spencer - Devlin, pro golf
Ilie Nastase - tennis
Jimmy Piersail - baseball player, Boston Red Sox, sports announcer
Barret Robbins - football
Wyatt Sexton - football
Alonzo Spellman - football
Darryl Strawberry - baseball
Dimitrius Underwood - football
Luther Wright - basketball
Bert Yancey - athlete

TV & Radio
Dick Cavett
Jay Marvin - Radio, writer
Jane Pauley
Louis Althusser - philosopher, writer
Honors de Balzac
Art Buchwald - Writer, humorist
Marcus Butters
Neal Cassady
Patricia Cornwell
Margot  Early
Kaye Gibbons
Sally Giborski
Johann Goethe
Graham Greene
Abbie Hoffman - Writer, political activist
Kay Redfield Jamison - Writer, psychologist
Peter Nolan Lawrence
Frances Lear - Writer, editor, women's rights activist
Rika Lesser - Writer, translator
Kate Millet
Robert Munsch
Margo Orum
Edgar Allen Poe
Peter Poezoewitz
Theodore Roethke
Lori Schiller -  Writer, educator
Frances Sherwood
Scott Simmie - Writer, journalist
August Strindberg
Gerald Strong
Mark Twain
Marcus Twatway
Joseph Vasquez - Writer, movie director
Mark Vonnegut - Doctor, writer
Sol Wachtler - Writer, judge
Mary Jane Ward
Virginia Woolf
Zoe Zeldia
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Adam Duritz - In a 2008 interview, Adam Duritz revealed that during the peak of his fame as lead singer for the group Counting Crows he suffered from mental illness, including severe depression.
Ashley Judd - actress and daughter/half-sister of the singing duo The Judds, revealed in 2006 that she had suffered from depression and an eating disorder.

Billy Corgan - American musician from the band The Smashing Pumpkins, reported to have suffered from deep depression while working hard on the band's albums.

Billy Joel - A profile of the musician Billy Joel and his struggles with depression.
Boris Yeltsin - An article about the Russian president Boris Yeltsin, his depression, and his rumored alcohol problems.

Brooke Shields -
A profile of actress Brooke Shields and her experiences with postpartum depression.

Buzz Aldrin -
In recent years, astronaut Buzz Aldrin has spoken frankly about his past depression and alcohol abuse.

Delta Burke -
In 2008, Delta Burke, best known for her role on the TV series Designing Women, spoke candidly about her depression and hospitalization during an interview with The Insider.
Diana, Princess of Wales - A profile of Diana, Princess of Wales and her struggles with depression and eating disorders.

Drew Carey -In an interview with Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell, comedian and host of The Price Is Right Drew Carey revealed a darker side of himself. “I was depressed for a long time,” said Carey. So depressed that at the age of 18 and again in his 20's he attempted to take his own life by overdosing on pills.

Emma Thompson -
Nanny McPhee star Emma Thompson has revealed that in the past she suffered from depression, brought on by her attempts to conceive via in vitro fertilization.

Harrison Ford -
A profile of the actor Harrison Ford and his struggles with depression.

Heath Ledger -
Prior to his 2008 overdose, Aussie actor Heath Ledger, star of the gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, suffered from depression, insomnia and addiction.

Hugh Laurie - T
he multi-talented British actor who portrays the tortured genius Dr. Greg House on Fox's hit medical drama House, admitted in a 2007 interview that he was suffering from depression.

J. K. Rowling -
In an interview with Adeel Amini for a student magazine at Edinburgh University, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling revealed that she had once been suicidally depressed.

Jeffrey Sebelia -
Project Runway winner Jeffrey Sebelia once battled depression and came close to committing suicide.

Jim Carrey -
A profile of the comedian Jim Carrey and his struggles with depression.

John Denver - When Denver's career fell into a slump in the '80s, he found himself alone without a wife, and began developing a serious problem with depression and alcohol.

Kurt Cobain -
Best known as the lead singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain died of a gunshot wound at the age of 27. The official cause of death is listed as suicide.

Marie Osmond -
Marie Osmond was one of the first celebrities to speak out about the reality of postpartum depression.

Mark Roget -
Mark Roget, the creator of Roget's Thesaurus, found at an early age that making lists of words helped him to cope with his depression.

Mike Wallace -
Newscaster Mike Wallace showed us that even men, who often believe they must be strong and not show vulnerability, can become depressed.

Olivia Newton-John -
Speaking with the Australian Women's Weekly magazine, singer Olivia Newton-John revealed that she had struggled with depression following the disappearance of her long-time partner Patrick McDermott.

Owen Wilson -
In August of 2007, Owen Wilson, who starred in such movies as Wedding Crashers and Starsky & Hutch was reported as having attempted suicide. He has thus far not publicly spoken about this event or having depression, however.

Pete Wentz -
In an interview with Q magazine, Fall Out Boy bassist and songwriter Pete Wentz revealed that he has bipolar disorder.

Richard Jeni -
Comedian Richard Jeni, best known for appearances on the Tonight Show and his HBO comedy specials, died on March 10, 2007 from what appeared to be suicide.

Rodney Dangerfield -
Although diagnosed later in life with clinical depression, Dangerfield believed that it began early in his life due to a father who abandoned him and a mother whose cruel remarks made him feel worthless.

Rosie O'Donnell -
During her tenure on The View, Rosie O'Donnell discussed her depression following the Columbine High School shooting and how she currently uses inversion therapy to help control her depression.

Sheryl Crow -
A profile of musician Sheryl Crow and her experiences with depression.

Terry Bradshaw -
A profile of the football great Terry Bradshaw and his struggles with depression.

Thomas F. Eagleton -
In 1972, when depression was much more stigmatized than it is now, Sen. Eagleton, who at the time was the running mate of presidential candidate George McGovern, held a press conference to reveal that he had been treated for depression and had received ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). He eventually left the ticket.

Vincent Van Gogh -
An article about the artist Vincent Van Gogh and his depression.

Winston Churchill - An essay about the depression of Winston Churchill.
Jessica Alba
Dr. Samuel Johnson
Donald Trump
Cameron Diaz
Jim Eisenreich
Albert Einstein
Ian Puleston-Davies
David Beckham
Rose McGowan
Dan Ackroyd
Aaron Bagnola
Fred Durst
David Beckham
Tim Howard
Famous People with Autism

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Famous People with Mental Illness Part 1of 3

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