30 famous autistic people you should know: Actors, musicians, singers and inventors with autism

30 famous autistic people you should know: Actors, musicians, singers and inventors with autism

Per the CDC, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Individuals with the condition may communicate, learn, and interact differently. But in spite of the condition's challenges, a significant number have gone on to be great achievers. Discover some famous autistic people from various fields in the world.

Famous autistic people: businessman Elon Musk, nature photographer Chris Packham, and actor Coby Bird
From Left to Right: Businessman Elon Musk, nature photographer Chris Packham, and actor Coby Bird attend separate events. Photo: Domenico Cippitelli, Karwai Tang, Emma McIntyre (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Whoever quoted that disability is not inability might have been thinking of these famous autistic people. These individuals have broken the stereotype that ASD is a limitation. Instead, they have demonstrated that having such conditions is a unique strength that enables them to view the world differently. According to Healis Autism Centre and similar websites, below are some most famous autistic people.

30 famous autistic people globally

Famous autistic people are among the individuals who have helped shape the world in various fields. From the arts and politics to science to technology, these individuals have proven that ASD is not a limitation but a strength.

Read also

App lets Indigenous Brazilians connect in own languages

Famous autistic people in history

Famous people with ASD in history include personalities like scientists, inventors, and explorers. However, most of these individuals never received their diagnosis when alive, but historians and experts have diagnosed them posthumously.

1. Charles Darwin (1809–1882)

Charles Darwin's potraits
English naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Robert Darwin. Photo: J. Cameron, Universal History Archive (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist. According to Professor Michael Fitzgerald of Trinty College in Ireland, Darwin presumably had Asperger's syndrome. The professor attributed Darwin's records from childhood that stated he was reserved and isolated and was a very visual thinker.

2. Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875)

Portraits of Hans Christian Andersen
Portraits of prolific Danish author and writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems Hans Christian Andersen. Photo: Photo12, Willi Ruge (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author best known for his literary fairy tales. Experts attribute Hans's narrow interests, strict routines and speech and social difficulties as traits that place him in the autism spectrum.

3. Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806)

Portraits of Benjamin Banneker
Illustrated portraits of American author, astronomer, and farmer Benjamin Banneker. Photo: Stock Montage, MPI (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Benjamin Banneker was an African-American naturalist, mathematician, astronomer, and Almanac author. He was born to free African-American parents during a time when slavery was legal in the USA. Banneker's fixation with minute details and his intricate experiments have led experts to diagnose him with ASD.

Read also

25 D-list celebrities you didn't know about (females and males)

4. James Joyce (1882–1941)

A photo and portrait of James Joyce
A black-and-white photo (L) and a portrait of Irish novelist, poet, and literary critic James Augustine Aloysius Joyce. Photo: Roger Viollet, Hulton Archive (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, poet, and literary critic. Many experts believe that the novelist was autistic based on some of his works. He also reportedly had trouble keeping friends and was extremely intelligent.

5. Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727)

A portrait and engraving of Sir Isaac Newton
A portrait (L) and engraving of the English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author Sir Isaac Newton. Photo: Stock Montage, GraphicaArtis (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Sir Isaac Newton was an English polymath active as a mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, author, and theologian. According to the National Institutes of Health, Newton appears to be the earliest known example of a person with any form of autism, notably Asperger's syndrome.

Singers with autism

Singers with autism comprise talented and remarkable musicians whose works have helped change perceptions about autism. They include:

1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)

Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart circa 1780, painted by Johann Nepomuk della Croce. Photo: Universal History Archive
Source: Getty Images

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and influential composer from the Classical period. According to Golden Steps, most experts agree that Mozart was somewhere on the autism spectrum. One reason is Mozart had a condition where loud sounds would make him ill. He also had a perfect musical memory.

Read also

The best Christian movies on Netflix: Powerful faith-based movies to watch

2. Travis Meeks (1979–present)

Travis Shane Meeks is an American musician and the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the acoustic rock band Days of the New. The singer's traumatic upbringing made him a poor student, but he wasn't diagnosed with ASD until he was an adult.

3. Susan Boyle (1961–present)

Susan Boyle attends the 'America’s Got Talent: The Champions' Finale
Susan Boyle attends the 'America's Got Talent: The Champions' Finale at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. Photo: Tibrina Hobson
Source: Getty Images

Susan Magdalene Boyle is a Scottish singer. She rose to fame in 2009 after appearing as a contestant on the third series of Britain's Got Talent. In 2023, Susan disclosed that she had been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, which is part of the autistic spectrum disorder.

4. James William Durbin (1989–present)

James William Durbin is an American singer and guitarist from Santa Cruz, California. He is best known for participating in American Idol in 2011, where he finished fourth. According to CNN Health, Durbin revealed that he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and Asperger's syndrome when he was ten.

Read also

Who invented homework and why? Here is everything you need to know about homework invention and history

5. Gary Numan (1958–present)

Gary Numan performs at the Electric Ballroom
Gary Numan performs at the Electric Ballroom in London, England. Photo: Jim Dyson
Source: Getty Images

Gary Anthony James Webb, also known as Gray Numan, is an English musician. He entered the music industry as the frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army. According to the Belfast Telegraph, doctors put Gary on prescriptions after a psychiatrist suggested that he may have Asperger's syndrome. However, Gary has never received an official diagnosis.

Actors with autism

These actors include famous personalities who have made significant contributions to the film and television industry. Their performances have been lauded for their depth and authenticity, often drawing from their personal experiences with autism.

1. Anthony Hopkins (1937–present)

Anthony Hopkins at the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood
Anthony Hopkins attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood, California. Photo: David Livingston
Source: Getty Images

Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins is a Welsh actor, director, and producer best known for his performances on the screen and stage. According to Express, the actor got his autism diagnosis in his late 70s.

2. Dan Aykroyd (1952–present)

Dan Aykroyd speaks onstage during the 2015 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Honoring Steve Martin
Actor and comedian Dan Aykroyd speaks onstage during the 2015 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Honoring Steve Martin at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. Photo: Kevin Winter
Source: Getty Images

Daniel Edward Aykroyd is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, and musician. The actor was diagnosed with Asperger's in the 1980s. Additionally, he was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, a condition of the nervous system.

Read also

17 of the best blind singers who have succeeded in the music industry

3. Wentworth Miller (1972–present)

Wentworth Miller at the "Prison Break" screening and conversation in in Beverly Hills
Actor Wentworth Miller attends the "Prison Break" screening and conversation at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Paul Archuleta
Source: Getty Images

Wentworth Earl Miller III is an American-British actor and screenwriter. He rose to prominence following his starring role as Michael Scofield in the Fox series Prison Break. According to CNN, the actor revealed his autism diagnosis in 2021, disclosing he received his diagnosis a year prior.

4. Hannah Gadsby (1978–present)

Hannah Gadsby attends the Australian premiere of Hamilton
Hannah Gadsby attends the Australian premiere of Hamilton at Lyric Theatre, Star City in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Don Arnold
Source: Getty Images

Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian, writer, and actor. They began their career in Australia after winning the national final of the Raw Comedy competition for new comedians in 2006. The comedian became aware of her condition in their late 20s.

5. Alex Plank (1986–present)

Alex Plank arrives at Autism Speaks, Into the Blue Gala
Alex Plank arrives at Autism-Speaks, Into the Blue Gala in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Joshua Blanchard
Source: Getty Images

Alexander Plank is an American autism advocate, filmmaker and actor. He is known for his role on FX's television series The Bridge and acting on The Good Doctor. Physicians diagnosed Alex when he was nine, and he, in turn, founded the online community Wrong Planet to find others online.

Read also

10 of the most famous engineers that have made significant impacts on the world

Autistic athletes

Athletes with ASD include individuals who have achieved remarkable feats in the world of sports. Their success stories serve as an inspiration to many. They include:

1. Clay Marzo (1989–present)

Clay Marzo is an American professional surfer known for his unique "double-jointed" style of turns and spins. He is acclaimed for his creativity and innovation, which has seen him feature in several films. Marzo discovered that he had Asperger syndrome in December 2007.

2. Jessica-Jane Applegate (1996–present)

Jessica-Jane Applegate with their gold medal for the Women's 200m Freestyle S14
Jessica-Jane Applegate with their gold medal for the Women's 200m Freestyle S14 during the Para Swimming World Championships at the Manchester Aquatics Centre, Manchester. Photo: Martin Rickett
Source: Getty Images

Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE is a British Paralympic swimmer. She competes in the S14 classification for swimmers with intellectual disabilities, mainly freestyle and backstroke, preferring shorter distances. Physicians diagnosed Jessica with Asperger's syndrome when she was in secondary school.

3. Tom Stoltman (1994–present)

Tom Stoltman is a British professional strongman competitor from Invergordon, Scotland. He won the World's Strongest Man title two consecutive times in 2021 and 2022. Stoltman learnt of his autism condition when he was five.

Read also

20 influential people who changed the world as we know it

4. Linus Söderström (1996–present)

Linus Söderström is a Swedish professional ice hockey goaltender. He was the 95th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, where the New York Islanders selected him. Doctors diagnosed Söderström with ASD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the age of 7.

5. Ritomo Miyata (1999–present)

Ritomo Miyata is a Japanese racing driver for Toyota Gazoo Racing. The star disclosed that he didn't have a conventional upbringing. Doctors diagnosed Miyata with autism at a young age, and he would use go-karting as an escape.

Celebrities with autism

Various celebrities are dominating their various fields despite having autism. But instead of shying away from their conditions, these stars have used their statuses to raise awareness of the situation.

1. Chris Packham (1961–present)

Chris Packham attends the Global Launch of BBC Studios' "Planet Earth III"
Chris Packham attends the Global Launch of BBC Studios' "Planet Earth III" at Frameless in London, England. Photo: Dave Benett
Source: Getty Images

Christopher Gary Packham is an English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author. He is best known for his television work in the CBBC children's nature series The Really Wild Show from 1986 to 1995. Per The Guardian, in 2017, Chris opened up about his autism in the documentary Asperger's and Me.

Read also

25 of the best Christian movies based on true stories you should watch

2. Elon Musk (1971–present)

Elon Musk at the Atreju convention in Rome, Italy
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., at the Atreju convention in Rome, Italy. Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico
Source: Getty Images

Elon Reeve Musk is a businessman, inventor and investor. He is best known for his role as chairman of Tesla Inc, among other things. In a 2015 interview, Musk revealed that he had a mild form of Asperger's syndrome.

3. Christine McGuinness (1988–present)

Christine McGuinness at the launch of Me, My Autism & I Exhibition in London
English model Christine McGuinness attends the Vanish x Ambitious About Autism launch exhibition for 'Me, My Autism, & I' at gallery@oxo in London, England. Photo: Kate Green
Source: Getty Images

Christine McGuinness is an English model, television personality and former beauty queen. According to the BBC, the model received her autism diagnosis in 2021 at age 33. Christine revealed that she was hypersensitive to sound and smell.

4. Melanie Sykes (1970–present)

Melanie Sykes at the Together For Short Lives Nutcracker Ball in London
English television and radio presenter Melanie Sykes attends the Together For Short Lives 'Nutcracker Ball' at One Marylebone in London, England. Photo: Gareth Cattermole
Source: Getty Images

Melanie Ann Sykes is an English television and radio presenter. She is best known for co-hosting Today with Des and Mel with Des O'Connor and Let's Do Lunch with Gino D'Acampo. Melanie received her autism diagnosis in 2021 and Tourette's syndrome in 2023.

5. Coby Bird (2002–present)

Coby Bird at the Variety Inclusion Gathering event in Beverly Hills, CA
Actor Coby Bird attends the Variety Inclusion Gathering Presented by the Ruderman Family Foundation at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills in West Hollywood, California. Photo: Jon Kopaloff
Source: Getty Images

Coby Bird, at 22 years old (as of 2024), is among the famous young celebrities with autism. He is an American actor best known for his roles in the TV shows Speechless, Locke & Key and The Good Doctor, where he plays autistic characters. Coby received his autism diagnosis when he was five.

Read also

25 of the biggest white rappers of all time and their biggest hits

6. Kayla Cromer (1998–present)

Kayla Cromer is an American actress. She is the first autistic actor to play an autistic main character in a TV series. Kayla plays Matilda in the 2020/2021 series Everything's Gonna Be Okay. Doctors diagnosed Kayla with dyscalculia, dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the age of 7 and with ASD years later.

7. Lizzy Clark (1994–present)

Lizzy Clark is an English actress with Asperger's Syndrome. She is famous, in particular, for playing the role of Poppy (who has Asperger's Syndrome) in the 2008 television film Dustbin Baby. Lizzy was the first actress with the condition to portray a fictional character with the same condition.

8. Mickey Rowe (1988–present)

Mickey Rowe attends the Media Access Awards 2017
Actor Mickey Rowe attends the Media Access Awards 2017 at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Jerod Harris
Source: Getty Images

Mickey Rowe is an autistic and legally blind author of the award-winning book Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor's Journey to Broadway's Biggest Stage. Per Playbill, Rowe is also the first autistic actor to play a lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Read also

Famous black actors who died recently: A list of the 15 most notable

9. Tal Anderson (1997–present)

Tal Anderson attends the All Ghouls Gala, raising money for Autism Care Today and honouring inclusivity
Tal Anderson attends the All Ghouls Gala in Woodland Hills, California, raising money for Autism Care Today and honouring inclusivity. Photo: Unique Nicole
Source: Getty Images

Tal Anderson is best known for her work in the Netflix series Atypical as Sid and as Gia in Amazon Studios' As We See It. Doctors diagnosed her with a developmental disability when she was one and later with autism in preschool.

10. Alexis Wineman (1995–present)

Miss Montana 2012 Alexis Wineman attends the 6th annual Rescue Our Angels event
Miss Montana 2012 Alexis Wineman attends the 6th annual Rescue Our Angels event at Studio Paris in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Barry Brecheisen
Source: Getty Images

Alexis Wineman is among the famous autistic women. She is an autism advocate who was named Miss Montana in 2012. Alexis is also the first known autistic contestant to compete in the Miss America pageant.

Above are some famous autistic people. These include scientists, artists, writers and even activists. These well-known individuals have significantly contributed to the betterment of the world in spite of their condition.

Yen.com.gh featured an informative piece about the most influential people who changed the world. Throughout history, there have been many influential individuals whose achievements have impacted the world.

Notable names on the list include Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, and Albert Einstein. But what makes them stand out? And what did they do to deserve recognition?

Source: YEN.com.gh

Online view pixel