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  • Writer's pictureJace Shoemaker-Galloway

International Stuttering Awareness Day: Famous people who stutter

October 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD), an annual “holiday” that raises awareness about stuttering. ISAD also shines the spotlight on the issues and difficulties people who struggle with stuttering must face every day. In 1988, United States President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Stuttering Awareness Week.

For folks who have the gift of gab, it's hard to imagine how difficult and aggravating it must be when the words you want to use do not flow naturally. Stuttering is involuntary interruptions in the flow of speech. It is estimated that 68 million people around the world stutter. 3 million of those are Americans. People who stutter are not less intelligent than those who do not. Many experts believe stuttering is genetic. Four times as many males are affected with stuttering than their female counterparts. While there are no instant “cures,” there are various approaches that can help children and adults with stuttering.

It’s hard to imagine the embarrassment and ridicule people who struggle with stuttering must face. But it is important to note that many people who have struggled with stuttering have gone on to lead very successful and rich lives. Some have become famous actors, singers, journalists and leaders of nations.

Famous Stutterers

  • The brilliant 2010 film, The King’s Speech, help put stuttering in the spotlight. Britain’s King George IV struggled with stuttering.

  • United States Vice President, known for his verbal gaffes, stuttered. He was even teased by a school nun, who called him "B-B-B-Biden" in front of the class.

  • Whether it was from a lisp or a stutter, Sir Winston Churchill had trouble speaking.

  • Son of actress Grace Kelly, Prince Albert of Monaco.

  • Hollywood legend and sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, struggled with stuttering. Her speech therapist taught Monroe to use what would become Monroe’s famous breathy voice to help with her speech. Due to her troubled personal life, her stuttering returned during her last film, Something’s Got to Give.

  • Movie star and action hero Bruce Willis stuttered in his younger years.

  • It’s hard to believe a famous movie, television and Broadway star known for his legendary voice, suffered from stuttering. James Earl Jones was a stutterer.

  • Academy-award winner Anthony Quinn.

  • Movie star Jimmy Stewart stuttered throughout his life.

  • Actress Emily Blunt.

  • Julia Roberts’ brother, Eric.

  • County music singer/songwriter Mel Tillis stuttered – except when he sang.

  • Jennifer Lopez’s ex, Marc Anthony.

  • Singer and writer Carly Simon began stuttering when she went through a traumatic event in her life when she was 8 years old.

  • Journalist and television anchor, John Stossel.

  • Golf legend Tiger Woods.

October 22 is also National Nut Day.

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