Celebrities & Notables Who Have Had Either Depression or Bipolar Disorder

Celebrities & Notables Who Have Had Either Depression or Bipolar Disorder

Several research studies of creative individuals have found that a striking number of them (they were primarily accomplished artists, writers, and musicians), have had a bipolar disorder. In fact, most studies have found a correlation between creative persons and persons who have had a bipolar disorder of 30 to 50 percent. Many very accomplished persons have also had depression.

The following list of notables who have experienced mood disorders, many of whom have made outstanding contributions to society, highlights:

  1. the inappropriateness of lumping all persons who have, or have had, mental illness under one umbrella; and
  2. the probable great waste that has occurred in society as a result of stigmatizing rather than embracing people who think outside the box, yet act constructively on their unique thoughts. Their listening to a different drummer and/or unusual achievements in the face of often limited resources and support, suggests that such persons merit greater consideration and support, not for personal reward, but because of the even greater contributions to society they might very well make as a result.

References were checked for all persons listed. They are listed to decrease the stigma associated with mental illness, and not for any slander.


Alvin Ailey
Halle Berry
Drew Carey
Dick Cavett
Dick Clark
Natalie Cole
Patty Duke
Stan Getz
Audrey Hepburn
Thelonious Monk
Laurence Olivier
Charley Pride
Brooke Shields
Nina Simone
Frank Sinatra
Rod Steiger
Spencer Tracy
Damon Wayans
Robin Williams



Hans Christian Anderson
Art Buchwald
Charles Dickens
Emily Dickinson
William Faulkner
F. Scott Fitzgerald
John Kenneth Galbraith
Lillian Hellman
Ernest Hemingway
Jane Pauley
George Stephanopoulos
William Styron
Mike Wallace
Walt Whitman
Tennessee Williams
Virginia Woolf


Ray Charles
Fredric Chopin
John Denver
Stephen Foster
George Frederic Handel
Janet Jackson
Billy Joel
Elton John
Sarah McLachlan
Charles Parker
Cole Porter
Robert Schumann
Paul Simon
James Taylor


Paul Gughin
Georgia O’Keefe
Vincent Van Gogh

Business Leaders

Charles Bluhdorn (Gulf & Western)
Jack Dreyfus (Dreyfus Fund)
Harold Geneen (ITT)
Phil Graham (Washington Post)
James Ling {merger king)
J.P. Morgan
Ted Turner

Political Leaders/World Figures

Napoleon Bonaparte
Barbara Bush
Winston Churchill
Tipper Gore
Lyndon B. Johnson
Abraham Lincoln
Ralph Nader
Florence Nightingale
George Patton
Diana, Princess of Wales
Eleanor Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt


Okasana Bajul
Dwight Gooden
Greg Louganis
Monica Seles
Bert Yancey


Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
Sigmund Freud
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison
Sir Isaac Newton 

List compiled by Health Power in 2002 with limited occasional updates. Copyright 2002. Advance permission required for reproduction.

Principal Sources: General media with no public objections taken; National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association, 2001; Bipolar Disorder: A Guide For Patients And Families by Francis Mark Mondimore, M.D., Johns Hopkins Press, 1999; A Brilliant Madness by Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman, Bantam Books, 1992; Moodswing by Ronald R. Fieve, M.D., Bantam Books, 1997; An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Vintage Books, 1995.

There are approximately 2.5 million persons in the U.S. who have experienced bipolar disorders (manic depression) and 23 million who have experienced depression (unipolar disorder).