There are relatively few famous people with schizophrenia because schizophrenia
is a brain disease that typically strikes people when they are quite young
- age 17 to 28. People this age typically are too young to be famous,
they are just starting out their professional lives after finishing off
school or college.
A recent Nobel Laureate in Economics, John Forbes Nash Jr., has a lifetime
history of Schizophrenia but is now doing very well, as has been well
documented in the book "A Beautiful Mind" and the academy award-winning
movie of the same name.
Many "historical diagnoses" are frequently not entirely certain
-- a "good guess" for schizophrenia includes Mary Todd Lincoln,
wife of President Abraham Lincoln. Following is a list of famous people
who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, or are highly suspected of
suffering (or have suffered) from schizophrenia.
- Tom Harrell, Jazz Musician
- Meera Popkin, Broadway Star
- John Nash - Mathematician/Nobel Prize Winner
- Andy Goram - Scottish Soccer Player/Goal Keeper
- Lionel Aldridge - Superbowl-winning
- 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
- Joe Meek - 1960's British
- James Beck Gordon (Jim Gordon) - James Gordon
had been, quite simply, one of the greatest drummers of his time
- Charles "Buddy" Bolden - Jazz
- Antoin Artaud - Dramatist, Artist
- Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln
(past-President of the United States)
- Vaclav Nijinsky, Famous Russian Dancer
Tom Harrell has been called the John Forbes Nash, Jr. of jazz. Against
considerable odds, Harrell has successfully struggled with schizophrenia
and become one of the most respected trumpeters and composers of the
past 30 years.
Meera Popkin, Broadway Star
Meera Popkin, a star of Cats and Miss Saigon on Broadway and in London's
West End who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her life went from
center stage and limousines to waiting tables at Wendy's, but she's
back and is doing well. She is married and (as of the interview in
the Infinite Mind radio program below) expecting a baby soon.
is Meera Popkin.
She played Ashley in the Las Vegas production of the play "Starlight
John Nash - Mathematician/Nobel Prize Winner
Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate
John Nash by Sylvia Nasar, Publisher: Touchstone Books;
(November 27, 2001) ISBN: 0743224574
Brilliant Madness - The Story of John Nash
John Nash was an eccentric mathematical genius whose sudden
youthful plunge into schizophrenia could have ended in obscurity
or tragedy. Instead, his 30-year battle against crippling mental
disease ended in triumph--and winning the 1994 Nobel Prize in
economics, as recounted in the blockbuster 2001 film, A Beautiful
Mind. This documentary features interviews with Nash, wife Alicia,
friends, and colleagues. DVD Special Features include bonus
interview with John Nash; out-takes of schizophrenia; Price:
$14.95 Video, $19.95 DVD.
Beautiful Mind (The Awards Edition) VHS-Version, Starring:
Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Director: Ron Howard, ASIN: B00005JKQZ
Beautiful Mind (Widescreen Awards Edition) DVD-Version,
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Director: Ron Howard, ASIN:
Andy Goram - Scottish Soccer Player/Goal Keeper
- It has been reported in the UK Newspapers that Scottish goalkeeper
Andy Goram was playing for Rangers (and more recently as a sub with
the Manchester Union Soccer club) was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Goram is regarded as Scotland's top goalkeeper and among the best
in Europe despite the knee injuries which have dogged him throughout
his Rangers career. His superb reaction saves and bravery have earned
him World Cup recognition since earning his first Scotland cap while
an Oldham Athletic player in 1986.
Lionel Aldridge - Superbowl-winning Football
for the band Fleetwood Mac
Syd Barrett of the band Pink Floyd
"Skip" Spence, Bob Mosley - both members of the 1960's
rock group Moby Grape (and Jefferson Airplane for Skip Spence). As a
article mentioned in 1998 "Moby Grape's two most innovative songwriters,
Spence and BobMosley, had descended into schizophrenia. Spence is still
under residential care, unable to perform, while Mosley was homeless
in the mid-1990s. But he rejoined the band for its previous New York
show in August 1997." See
Kynard "Roky" Erickson, of the Austin-based 1960's
group TheThirteenth Floor Elevators. Around 1967 Erickson was arrested
for drug possession, and locked in a psychiatric hospital for schizophrenia.
When Erickson came out of the psychiatric hospital (1972), he published
a book of poetry. Despite his mental instability, he hit the scene again
during the rush of psychedelic revival and punk-rock, with dark humor
and a taste for the supernatural that carried him away from his origins,
towards a macabre rhythm and blues, with lyrics filled with alarming
Meek - 1960's British record producer ("Telstar").
From 1960 until his premature death six years later, Joe Meek released
245 singles, 45 of which made the Top 50.
James Beck Gordon (Jim Gordon) - James Beck
Gordon had been, quite simply, one of the greatest drummers of his time.
In the Sixties and Seventies he had played with John Lennon, George
Harrison, Eric Clapton, the Everly Brothers, the Beach Boys, Judy Collins,
Joe Cocker, Frank Zappa, Duane Allman, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne and
Joan Baez. But the music came to and end as he developed schizophrenia.
(right) on tour with Jackson Browne (left), 1978
An Overview of Jim Gordon's Life
Charles "Buddy" Bolden - Schizophrenia
at the Root of Jazz
Antoin Artaud - Dramatist, Artist (may
have had schizophrenia)
Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln
(past-President of the United States)
Vaclav Nijinsky, Famous Russian Dancer
- Nijinsky Film
- Nijinsky Ballet Created - "Germany's Hamburg Ballet is recreating
the life of one of the dance world's superstars in a spectacular work
by John Neumeier titled "Nijinsky," currently on a national
The two-act, full evening work covers the legendary career of Russian
dancer Vaslav Nijinsky from his engagement by impresario Serge Diaghilev
for his Ballets Russes in 1909 to his final public performance in
1919, which was followed by years moving in and out of mental sanitariums
until his death in 1950. There have been other ballets about Nijinsky,
but none is as biographically thorough as Neumeier's." from
UPI Story on this new ballet - Nijinsky
Here is another list that someone has developed - the NAMI list
of famous people with mental illness.