21 Famous Schizophrenics People

21 Famous Schizophrenics

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List of famous people with schizophrenia, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is diagnosed based on observed behaviors. Symptoms of the illness include delusions, visual and auditory hallucinations, and lack of emotional intelligence. Genetics and environmental factors can be causes of schizophrenia.

Who is the most famous person with schizophrenia? Brian Wilson tops our list. The Beach Boys mastermind has hallucinations in which he hears voices. The “God Only Knows” singer says that he began experiencing the hallucinations when he started taking psychedelic drugs in the 60s. Other famous musicians with schizophrenia include Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett, Derek and the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon, and singer-songwriter Roky Erickson.

Some famous women also suffer from schizophrenia. Silent film actress Clara Bow was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent over 25 shock therapy treatments. Her hallucinations presented themselves as severe abdominal pains that actually didn't exist. Bow also tried to commit suicide in 1944, claiming that she preferred death to a public life. She retired from acting in 1933. Other famous women with schizophrenia include Veronica Lake, Gene Tierney, and Zelda Fitzgerald.

How do you think these famous people cope with schizophrenia? Share your thoughts in the comments section.



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  1. Beach Boys front man Brian Wilson has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.  Wilson has hallucinations in which he hears voices.

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    • Age: age 73
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA, California, Inglewood
    • Profession: Bassist, Arranger, Record producer, Pianist, Musician, + more
    • Credits: The Monkey's Uncle, Love & Mercy, Tales of the Rat Fink, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, The Union, + more
  2. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Darrell Hammond was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

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    • Age: age 60
    • Birthplace: Melbourne, USA, Florida
    • Profession: Comedian, Actor, Impressionist
    • Credits: Saturday Night Live, Scary Movie 3, Blues Brothers 2000, Scary Movie 5, Epic Movie, + more
  3. Actress Veronica Lake was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child.

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    • Age: Died at 51 (1922-1973)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Pin-up girl, Actor
    • Died: 1973
    • Cause Of Death: Renal failure, Acute renal failure, Hepatitis
    • Credits: Sullivan's Travels, The Blue Dahlia, This Gun for Hire, I Married a Witch, Ramrod, + more
  4. On the Road author Jack Kerouac's military records revealed that he was diagnosed with dementia praecox, today known as schizophrenia.

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    • Age: Died at 47 (1922-1969)
    • Birthplace: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Painter, Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter
    • Died: 1969
    • Cause Of Death: Cirrhosis
    • Credits: On the Road, Big Sur, Kerouac, Pull My Daisy, Couch
  5. Although he was never diagnosed, many historians believe that Vincent van Gogh suffered from schizophrenia.

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    • Age: Died at 37 (1853-1890)
    • Birthplace: Zundert
    • Profession: Painter, Artist
    • Died: 1890
    • Cause Of Death: Ballistic trauma, Suicide
  6. Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett was thought to have had schizophrenia by medical experts and people close to him. Pink Floyd member Roger Waters wrote "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" as a tribute to Barrett.

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    • Age: Died at 60 (1946-2006)
    • Birthplace: Cambridge, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Singer
    • Died: 2006
    • Cause Of Death: Cancer, Pancreatic cancer
    • Medical Conditions: Bipolar disorder, Asperger syndrome
    • Credits: The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story, A Technicolor Dream, Syd Barrett: Under Review
  7. Novelist and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1930.

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    • Age: Died at 48 (1900-1948)
    • Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America
    • Profession: Novelist, Writer
    • Died: 1948
    • Cause Of Death: Fire
  8. Musician Daniel Johnston is diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression.

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    • Age: age 54
    • Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Lyricist, Author, + more
    • Credits: The Devil and Daniel Johnston, It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books, The Angel and Daniel Johnston – Live at the Union Chapel, Danielson: A Family Movie
  9. Silent film actress Clara Bow was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1949.

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    • Age: Died at 60 (1905-1965)
    • Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York
    • Profession: Actor
    • Died: 1965
    • Cause Of Death: Myocardial infarction
    • Credits: Wings, Red Hair, The Saturday Night Kid, Paramount on Parade, Ladies of the Mob, + more
  10. Ronald Reagan's would-be assassin suffered from schizophrenia.

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    • Age: age 60
    • Birthplace: Ardmore, Oklahoma, United States of America
  11. Former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln was thought to have schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder.

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    • Age: Died at 64 (1818-1882)
    • Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Died: 1882
    • Medical Conditions: Bipolar disorder
  12. Actress Gene Tierney was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent over 25 shock therapy treatments.

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    • Age: Died at 71 (1920-1991)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Actor
    • Died: 1991
    • Cause Of Death: Emphysema
    • Credits: Laura, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Night and the City, Leave Her to Heaven, The Razor's Edge, + more
  13. Producer and songwriter Joe Meek was an undiagnosed schizophrenic. The illness is thought to be a factor in Meek's murder of his landlady and his own suicide.

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    • Age: Died at 38 (1929-1967)
    • Birthplace: Newent, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Record producer, Songwriter, Engineer
    • Died: 1967
    • Cause Of Death: Suicide
  14. NFL player Lionel Aldridge developed paranoid schizophrenia in the late 70s.

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    • Age: Died at 57 (1941-1998)
    • Birthplace: Evergreen, Louisiana, United States of America
    • Profession: American football player
    • Died: 1998
    • Cause Of Death: Natural causes
    • Medical Conditions: Schizophrenia
  15. In 1907, jazz musician Buddy Bolden was diagnosed with dementia praecox, today known as schizophrenia.

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    • Age: Died at 54 (1877-1931)
    • Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
    • Profession: Musician, Trumpeter
    • Died: 1931
  16. Albert Einstein's son Eduard was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1930. He was hospitalized several times throughout his life.

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    • Age: Died at 55 (1910-1965)
    • Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
    • Profession: Psychiatrist
    • Died: 1965
    • Cause Of Death: Stroke
    • Medical Conditions: Schizophrenia
  17. Musician and artist Wesley Willis was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he began to hear "demons."

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    • Age: Died at 40 (1963-2003)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Musician, Singer-songwriter, Singer, Visual Artist, Artist
    • Died: 2003
    • Cause Of Death: Leukemia
    • Credits: Feast of the Assumption: BTK and the Otero Family Murders, The Daddy of Rock 'n' Roll
  18. In the late 60s, singer-songwriter Skip Spence became delusional after taking too much acid. He marched around his hotel room with an axe, bashing down doors and claiming he was the anti-Christ. He was taken to Bellvue where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

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    • Age: Died at 53 (1946-1999)
    • Birthplace: Windsor, Canada
    • Profession: Songwriter, Musician, Singer
    • Died: 1999
    • Cause Of Death: Lung cancer
  19. Singer Roky Erickson was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1968.

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    • Age: age 68
    • Birthplace: Texas, USA, Dallas
    • Profession: Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Singer
    • Credits: You're Gonna Miss Me
  20. Derek and the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon had acute schizophrenia. In 1983, he attacked his mother and stabbed her to death.

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    • Age: age 70
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Songwriter, Musician, Drummer
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