Despite having Tourette Syndrome, there are a number of well-known people who didn’t let it stop their road to fame or success. Let’s take a look at some famous people who struggled and succeeded with Tourette’s:
The American singer Billie Eilish recently spoke to her fans about having struggled with Tourette’s syndrome since she was a child. She’d previously avoided going public about her diagnosis as she said she didn’t want to be characterised by her condition.
David Beckham is one of the most celebrated English football (soccer) players of his generation. He has played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, and Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as the England national team. Movies have been written about his corner kick (Bend It Like Beckham) and children around the globe look up to him, but most are not aware that David has Tourette’s Syndrome manifested through OCD.
Famous Canadian actor and comedian, Dan Aykroyd, was diagnosed with mild Tourette Syndrome and Aspergers at a young age. As a child, he would often hear voices and suffer from physical tics such as grunting and nervousness. Fortunately, Aykroyd’s symptoms subsided by the time he was fourteen as a result of successful therapy treatments.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Famous Classical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, battled Tourette Syndrome. In the documentary, What Makes Mozart Tic?, James McConnel suggests that the musical genius’ compositions were influenced by TS. According to McConnel, Mozart displayed signs of twitching and obsessive nature, all signs of the disorder. Over the years, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has composed over 600 pieces and is truly known as one of the world’s best classical composers.
Dash Mihok is known from HBO’s drama Ray Donovan. He has also been in The Thin Red Line, Silver Linings Playbook, Romeo + Juliet (the DiCaprio version) and the Day After Tomorrow. Mihok has said TS is “the greatest itch you’ve ever had, time 5000”. He is a national ambassador for the Tourette Association of America, a truly fabulous US organization. Over the course of his life, Mihok has experienced the full range of typical symptoms, including blinking, grimacing, head jerks, and shoulder shrugs—as well as actions that may appear purposeful, such as jumping, sniffing objects, or touching them. He’s had vocal tics like grunting, barking, throat clearing, saying words or phrases, and sometimes repeating others’ words.
Billionaire Howard Hughes, a businessman, engineer, aviator and film producer was a victim of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Best portrayed by Leonardo Dicaprio in The Aviator, a few of Hughes’ eccentric traits include organizing the size of his peas to obsessing over minute details.
Jamie Grace Harper
Jamie Grace Harper may be the world’s only musician with Tourette syndrome, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, echolalia, anxiety disorder—and a Grammy nod. Nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song (for her breakout hit “Hold Me”). Her first single was called “Hold Me.” As in: God holding me through the dark night of my Tourette syndrome. The song rose to number three on the Christian music chart and was nominated for a Grammy. More than 8.5 million people streamed it on YouTube.
U.S. soccer star goalkeeper, Tim Howard was diagnosed with TS when he was only nine years old. Howard immersed himself in sports as a child, excelling in soccer. He suffers from tics of facial twitching, clearing of throat and OCD. At a young age, he learned how to suppress his condition through sheer willpower.
Tourettes did not stop this American soccer player from advancing his career playing for the North Jersey Imperials, MetroStars, Manchester United, Everton and US National Team.
Michael Wolff, a famous Jazz musician, composer and producer, has lived with Tourette Syndrome since he was a child. Growing up with a mild case of TS, he made a conscious effort to hide his vocal and motor tics, which luckily never interfered with his successful school career or social life. Wolff never really knew he had TS until he was officially diagnosed in his thirties.
Marc Summers, a well-known television host and personality, suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. As the game show host for Nickelodeon’s Double Dare, Summers was often slimed, pied in the face or pushed into the tub of peanut butter and jelly for audience entertainment. Unbeknownst to viewers at the time, he battled severe OCD.
Jim Eisenreich – James Michael Eisenreich
In 1982 Jim Eisenreich was drafted to the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, his Tourette’s worsened with age. As a result, Eisenreich was taunted by fans and removed himself from games due to violent shaking and the inability to breathe. In 1984-1987 Eisenreich retired voluntarily to undergo treatment for the disease. He returned to professional baseball in 1987 signing with the Kansas City Royals going on to win the Tony Conigliaro award in 1990. Eisenreich’s baseball career lasted 15 years including a World Series championship with the Florida Marlins in 1997.