List of stutterers

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 Man in robes with long brown hair practicing speaking by the ocean with pebbles in his mouth
Greek orator Demosthenes practicing oratory at the beach with pebbles in his mouth

Stuttering (alalia syllabaris), also known as stammering (alalia literalis or anarthria literalis), is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, and involuntary silent pauses or blocks during which the stutterer is unable to produce sounds.[1] The exact etiology of stuttering is unknown; both genetics and neurophysiology are thought to contribute.[2] There are many treatments and speech-language pathology techniques available that may help increase fluency in some stutterers to the point where an untrained ear cannot identify a problem; however, there is essentially no cure for the disorder at present.[3][4]

Some stutterers include British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, orator Demosthenes, King George VI, actor James Earl Jones, and country singer Mel Tillis. Churchill, whose stutter was particularly apparent to 1920s writers,[5] was one of the 30% of stutterers who have an associated speech disorder—a lisp in his case—yet led his nation through World War II.[6][7] Demosthenes stammered and was inarticulate as a youth, yet, through dedicated practice, using methods such as placing pebbles in his mouth, became a great orator of Ancient Greece.[8] King George VI was so embarrassed by his stutter that he hired speech-language pathologist Lionel Logue and greatly improved his public speaking.[9] This training and its results are the focus of the 2010 film The King's Speech.[10] James Earl Jones has stated he was mute for many years of his youth yet he became an actor noted for the power of his voice.[11][12] Mel Tillis stutters when talking but not when singing.[13] Many people had their speech impediment only as a child and have overcome their condition.[14]


Actors[edit]

Man sitting with a black knit shirt and gold medallion
Actor James Earl Jones in 2010
Man in suit with left hand in pocket facing left
German silent film actor Bruno Kastner circa 1920
 Woman in hot pink dress dancing and singing with both arms raised
Actress Marilyn Monroe in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Actors with stutters
Name Lifetime Comments Reference(s)
Atkinson, RowanRowan Atkinson 1955–present English comedian, screenwriter, and actor who incorporates his stuttering into his work by using over-articulation to overcome problematic consonants [15][16]
Blunt, EmilyEmily Blunt 1983–present English actress who won a Golden Globe Award in 2007 [17]
Bonerz, PeterPeter Bonerz 1938–present American actor and producer who played Jerry the orthodontist on The Bob Newhart Show [18]
Brendon, NicholasNicholas Brendon 1971–present American actor who serves with the Stuttering Foundation of America [19]
Campbell, JaikJaik Campbell 1973–present British comedian who won British Stammering Association Writing Award in 2006 [20][21]
Grant, HughHugh Grant 1960–present English actor who won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe Award in 1995 [22]
Heck, Dieter ThomasDieter Thomas Heck 1937–present German actor and TV producer; started stuttering after being trapped under a staircase after a bombing raid in World War II [23][24]
Jones, James EarlJames Earl Jones 1931–present American actor who overcame stuttering to become noted for his powerful voice [11][22][25]
Jackson, Samuel L.Samuel L. Jackson 1948–present American actor who has appeared in over 100 films; active in Civil Rights Movement [22]
Javivi 1961–present Spanish actor who has appeared in films and TV series, usually in comical roles. [26]
Kastner, BrunoBruno Kastner 1890–1930 German film actor and producer; committed suicide with the advent of sound films because of his speech impediment [27]
Keitel, HarveyHarvey Keitel 1939–present Prolific American stage and movie actor [28]
Kitson, DanielDaniel Kitson 1977–present English comedian winner of the Perrier Comedy Award in 2002 [22][29]
Lipton, PeggyPeggy Lipton 1946–present American actress who played "Peggy Barnes" on The Mod Squad [28]
Melendez, JohnJohn Melendez 1965–present American television writer and radio personality known as "Stuttering John" [30]
Monroe, MarilynMarilyn Monroe 1926–1962 American actress, singer, model, and sex symbol; Golden Globe Award nominee in 1956 [22][25]
Neill, SamSam Neill 1947–present New Zealand actor who played Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park [31][32]
Pendleton, AustinAustin Pendleton 1940–present American actor, playwright, theatrical director, and instructor [18]
Quinn, AnthonyAnthony Quinn 1915–2001 Mexican-American actor, painter, and writer [28]
Roshan, HrithikHrithik Roshan 1980–present Indian Bollywood actor who won numerous Best Actor awards [28]
Roberts, EricEric Roberts 1956–present American actor, Golden Globe Award nominee in 1978; brother of actress Julia Roberts [28]
Roberts, JuliaJulia Roberts 1967–present One of the highest paid American actresses in terms of box office receipts; sister of actor Eric Roberts [28][33]
Sizemore, TomTom Sizemore 1961–present American actor and producer [28]
Sprouse, ColeCole Sprouse 1992–present American actor, twin of Dylan Sprouse [28][34]
Stewart, JamesJames Stewart 1908–1997 American film and stage actor whose stutter was a signature trait of his work. [35][36][37]
Willis, BruceBruce Willis 1955–present American actor, producer, and musician who played the role of John McClane in the Die Hard series [22]

Athletes[edit]

 Man kneeling and holding a basketball in a Harlem Globetrotters uniform
Basketball player Wilt Chamberlain in 1959 while a Harlem Globetrotter
 Woman golfer with standing with hat and hands on hips
Golfer Sophie Gustafson in 2008
Athletes with stutters
Name Lifetime Comments Reference(s)
Brown, KellyKelly Brown 1982–present Scottish rugby union player [38]
Carter, RubinRubin Carter 1937–2014 American boxer known as "The Hurricane" [18]
Chamberlain, WiltWilt Chamberlain 1936–1999 American basketball player, holds numerous official NBA all-time records [39]
Damon, JohnnyJohnny Damon 1973–present American major league baseball outfielder [40]
Gustafson, SophieSophie Gustafson 1973–present Swedish golfer [18]
Harper, RonRon Harper 1964–present American basketball player [18]
Hayes, LesterLester Hayes 1955–present American football cornerback [41]
Johnson, BenBen Johnson 1961–present Canadian sprinter [18]
Jackson, BoBo Jackson 1962–present American baseball and football player, 1985 Heisman Trophy winner [42]
John, TommyTommy John 1943–present American baseball pitcher [18]
Kidd-Gilchrist, MichaelMichael Kidd-Gilchrist 1993–present American basketball player [43]
Lankster, EllisEllis Lankster 1987–present American football cornerback [44]
Louganis, GregGreg Louganis 1960–present American diver [18]
Love, BobBob Love 1942–present American basketball player [45]
Martin, KenyonKenyon Martin 1977–present American basketball player [18]
McArdle, KenndalKenndal McArdle 1987–present Canadian hockey player [18]
Peterson, Adrian N.Adrian N. Peterson 1979–present American football running back [18]
Spinks, MichaelMichael Spinks 1956–present American boxer who was a world champion in the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions (1981–1988) [18]
Springer, GeorgeGeorge Springer 1989–present American major league baseball outfielder [46]
Sproles, DarrenDarren Sproles 1983–present American football running back [47]
Steinfeld, JakeJake Steinfeld 1958–present American actor and fitness personality who had a fitness line "Body by Jake" and TV show called Body by Jake [48]
Thomas, DuaneDuane Thomas 1947–present American football running back [18]
Taylor, DaveDave Taylor 1955–present American ice hockey player [18]
Venturi, KenKen Venturi 1931–present American golfer and golf broadcaster [49]
Walton, BillBill Walton 1952–present American Basketball Hall of Famer [50]
Woods, TigerTiger Woods 1975–present American golfer, formerly ranked World No. 1 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) [51]

Politicians[edit]

 Man gray coat and black top hat
Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1942
 Joe Biden had a history of stuttering
Politicians with stutters
Name Lifetime Comments Reference(s)
Balls, EdEd Balls 1967–present British Labour politician; Member of Parliament (2005–) [52]
Bassolino, AntonioAntonio Bassolino 1947–present Mayor of Naples (1994–1998); President of Campania (2000–2010); member of Italian Communist Party [18]
Biden, JoeJoe Biden 1942–present United States Senator from Delaware, 47th Vice President of the United States (2009–) [18][53][54]
Churchill, WinstonWinston Churchill 1874–1965 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1940–1945, 1951–1955); Nobel Prize in Literature recipient in 1953 [22][25]
Claudius, Claudius 10 BC – 54 AD Emperor of Rome (41–54), exaggerated his ailment in youth amid fratricidal dynastic conflicts [55][56]
Demosthenes, Demosthenes 384 – 322 BC Ancient Greek orator and politician [8]
De Rossa, ProinsiasProinsias De Rossa 1940–present Irish Labour Party politician; Member of the European Parliament (1989–1992, 1999–) [57]
Kean, ThomasThomas Kean 1935–present American politician, 48th Governor of New Jersey (1982–1990) [58]
Namboodiripad, E. M. S.E. M. S. Namboodiripad 1909–1998 Indian communist politician; Chief Minister of Kerala (1957–1959, 1967–1969) [59]
Vanhanen, MattiMatti Vanhanen 1955–present Prime Minister of Finland (2003–2010) [60]

Singers and musicians[edit]

 Man in white slacks and black jacket standing singing on stage
Country singer Mel Tillis in 2007 at the Grand Ole Opry
Singers and musicians with stutters
Name Lifetime Comments Reference(s)
Almond, MarcMarc Almond 1957–present English singer and songwriter [61]
Gallagher, NoelNoel Gallagher 1967–present English singer, guitarist, and vocalist [62]
Gates, GarethGareth Gates 1984–present English singer and songwriter [63]
John, ScatmanScatman John 1942–1999 American scat singer [64]
Kerr, JimJim Kerr 1959–present Scottish singer and songwriter [22]
Martin, ChrisChris Martin 1977–present English singer, songwriter, and guitarist [22]
Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 1968–present Australian singer, songwriter, and actress [22]
Murphy, PeterPeter Murphy 1957–present English singer, songwriter, and actor [65]
Presley, ElvisElvis Presley 1935–1977 American rock and roll singer [25]
Simon, CarlyCarly Simon 1945–present American singer, songwriter, musician, and children's author; recipient of two Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award; member of Grammy Hall of Fame [18][66]
Tillis, MelMel Tillis 1932–present American country singer, spokesman and honorary chairman of the Stuttering Foundation of America in 1998 [13][67]
Trapper, ChrisChris Trapper 19??–present American musician [18]
Withers, BillBill Withers 1938–present American singer and songwriter [18]
Washington, MeganMegan Washington 1986–present Australian singer, songwriter and musician [68]

Writers[edit]

 Man with moustache standing in suit
Writer W. Somerset Maugham in 1934
 Man with moustache standing in suit and facing right
Writer Machado de Assis circa 1896
Writers with stutters
Name Lifetime Comments Reference(s)
Bennett, ArnoldArnold Bennett 1867–1931 English journalist and novelist [18]
Bentine, MichaelMichael Bentine 1922–1996 British comedian, script-writer, and reader of children's books [18]
Bowen, ElizabethElizabeth Bowen 1899–1973 Irish novelist and short story writer [18]
Carroll, LewisLewis Carroll 1832–1898 English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer [22][25]
Davis, JimJim Davis 1945–present American cartoonist [69]
de Assis, MachadoMachado de Assis 1838–1908 Brazilian novelist, short story writer, poet, and literary critic [70]
Drabble, MargaretMargaret Drabble 1939–present English novelist, biographer, and literary critic [71]
Fei, HanHan Fei 280 BC – 233 BC Chinese philosopher and writer [18]
Hoagland, EdwardEdward Hoagland 1932–present American nature and travel writer [72]
James, HenryHenry James 1843–1916 American-born writer and critic who spent most of his life in England [18]
Jones, DylanDylan Jones 1960–present British journalist and editor [73][74]
Maugham, SomersetSomerset Maugham 1874–1965 English novelist, playwright, and short story writer [22][25]
McCurdy, MichaelMichael McCurdy 1942–present American illustrator, author, and publisher [18]
Mitchell, DavidDavid Mitchell 1969–present English novelist [75]
Montague, JohnJohn Montague 1929–present Irish poet [18]
Schulberg, BuddBudd Schulberg 1914–2009 American screenwriter, television producer, novelist and sports writer [18]
Seidler, DavidDavid Seidler 1937–present British screenwriter; BAFTA and Academy Award-winning writer of The King's Speech. [76]
Shields, DavidDavid Shields 1956–present American writer of fiction and nonfiction [18]
Shute, NevilNevil Shute 1899–1960 British novelist and aeronautical engineer [18]
Straub, PeterPeter Straub 1943–present American author and poet [18]
Tynan, KennethKenneth Tynan 1937–1980 English theater critic and writer [18]
Updike, JohnJohn Updike 1932–2009 American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic [22]

Others[edit]

 Man standing in royal regalia
King George VI of the United Kingdom circa 1940–1946
 Man in beige shirt standing and talking, with finger pointed
Zoologist Alan Rabinowitz
 Woodcut of man facing left with cloth hat and robe
Mathematician Niccolò Tartaglia later in life
Other people with stutters
Name Lifetime Comments Reference(s)
Albert II, PrincePrince Albert II 1958–present Prince of Monaco [18][53]
Allen, TerryTerry Allen 1888–1969 United States Army Major General during World War II [77]
Aristotle, Aristotle 384 BC – 322 BC Greek philosopher and writer [22][25]
Bigart, HomerHomer Bigart 1907–1991 American newspaper reporter who won two Pulitzer Prize for combat reporting—one each during World War II and the Korean War [78]
Bingham, HowardHoward Bingham 1939–present American photographer and biographer of Muhammad Ali [18]
Blank, ArthurArthur Blank 1942–present American businessman, co-founder of The Home Depot and owner of the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons [18]
Campbell, PatrickPatrick Campbell 1913–1980 3rd Baron Glenavy, Irish-born British journalist, humorist and television personality [18]
Carver, LordLord Carver 1915–2001 British Field Marshal, tank commander in World War II; Chief of the Defence Staff [79]
Cecil, Lord DavidLord David Cecil 1902–1986 British biographer, historian and professor [18]
Charles I, KingKing Charles I 1600–1649 King of England (1625–1649) [80]
Darwin, CharlesCharles Darwin 1809–1882 English naturalist [28]
Earl, HarleyHarley Earl 1893–1969 American car designer, first vice president of design at General Motors [18]
Eberts, JakeJake Eberts 1941–present Canadian movie producer, director, and financier [81]
Fraser, MalcolmMalcolm Fraser 1903–1994 American philanthropist and businessman [82][83]
French, PhilipPhilip French 1933– Film critic and BBC radio producer [84]
George VI, KingKing George VI 1895–1952 King of the United Kingdom [22]
Gottlieb, SidneySidney Gottlieb 1918–1999 American chemist who worked with the Central Intelligence Agency [18]
Hill, VernonVernon Hill 1945–present American banker [18]
James II, KingKing James II 1633–1701 King of England (1685–1688) [85]
Lucier, AlvinAlvin Lucier 1931–present American music professor and composer of experimental music [18]
Michnik, AdamAdam Michnik 1946–present Polish editor, historian, essayist, and political commentator [18]
Newton, IsaacIsaac Newton 1642–1727 English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian [22]
Oldfield, BruceBruce Oldfield 1950–present British fashion designer [18]
Rabinowitz, AlanAlan Rabinowitz 1953–present American zoologist, conservationist, field biologist, and President and CEO of Panthera [18][86]
Stossel, JohnJohn Stossel 1947–present American consumer reporter, investigative journalist, author, and libertarian columnist [87]
Tartaglia, Niccolò FontanaNiccolò Fontana Tartaglia 1499–1557 Italian mathematician, engineer, and surveyor [18]
Welch, JackJack Welch 1935–present American chemical engineer, businessman, and author [18]
Wittgenstein, LudwigLudwig Wittgenstein 1889–1951 Austrian philosopher, often lived abroad [22]

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