While Jack Paar is among the most prominent of the entertainers on the Stuttering Foundation’s list of Famous People Who Stutter, he deserves special recognition as he was among the first to openly address his stuttering in public. As host of “The Tonight Show” from 1957-1962, he spoke of his difficulties as a stuttering child and teenager, giving hope to young people.
Editor’s Note: The author is a person who stutters. For many years he has been a collector of “stuttering” songs – the good and the bad!
B.B. King and John Lee Hooker have much in common. Born in Mississippi only a few years apart, both are considered among the best blues guitarists of all-time. Both King and Hooker have been inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, what the public may not know is that they have another thing in common: stuttering.
Q: At what age do you remember first being aware that you spoke differently?
A: I can’t remember not being aware. In school, when we used to go around the table, each reading a paragraph, I’d count ahead and try to memorize my paragraph.
While the SFA’s Web site list of Famous People Who Stutter includes many high-profile names, we like to think that every person who stutters is unique in their own right.
One person who stutters who unfortunately never became famous was Rory Storm.
An interview with Travis Kruck
- *Bruce Willis starred in the 1989 movie Look Who's Talking as the voice of baby "Mikey."While the world knows Bruce Willis as an A-list actor, few know that he struggled with stuttering throughout his first 20 years.
Byron Pitts has brought much attention to stuttering with his memoir, Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges,released in September, 2009. The book not only details his speech difficulties, but also his illiteracy until age 12 and his unstable family life. Pitts overcame the odds to become a national correspondent with CBS News.
The recent Disney version of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, garnered a great deal of media hype. Even though the mainstream media has not made mention that Carroll was a person who stuttered, his family history gives credence to the discovery of the genetic link to stuttering. Carroll was born to parents who were first cousins; almost all of their eleven children, three girls and seven boys, struggled with stuttering past childhood.
Brothers Dominick and John Gregory Dunne, who died in 2009 and 2004 respectively, are well known as having been famous writers and literary giants.
What the public at large does not realize is that both Dominick Dunne and his younger brother John Gregory not only struggled with stuttering but also were quite open about it.