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. Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 21 Famous Schizophrenics
    Photo: Chris Boland/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    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: 73
    • Birthplace: Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Bassist, Arranger, Record producer, Pianist, Musician, + more
    • Credits: Forrest Gump, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, Apocalypse Now
  2. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Darrell Hammond was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

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    • Age: 60
    • Birthplace: Melbourne, Florida, United States of America
    • Profession: Comedian, Actor, Impressionist
    • Credits: Saturday Night Live, Scary Movie 3, Epic Movie, Scary Movie 5
  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, USA, New York
    • Profession: Pin-up girl, Actor
    • Died: 1973
    • Cause Of Death: Renal failure, Acute renal failure, Hepatitis
    • Credits: Sullivan's Travels, This Gun for Hire, The Blue Dahlia, I Married a Witch
  4. Jack Kerouac is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 21 Famous Schizophrenics
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use
    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: Middlesex County, United States of America, Lowell, United States, with Territories, + more
    • Profession: Painter, Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter
    • Died: 1969
    • Cause Of Death: Cirrhosis
    • Credits: On the Road, Big Sur, Pull My Daisy, Kerouac, the Movie
  5. Vincent van Gogh is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 21 Famous Schizophrenics
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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, Netherlands
    • Profession: Painter, Artist
    • Died: 1890
    • Cause Of Death: Ballistic trauma, Suicide
  6. Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 21 Famous Schizophrenics
    Photo: Freebase
    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: Mysterious Skin, Something in the Air, Off the Black, Tonite Let's All Make Love in London
  7. Zelda Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 21 Famous Schizophrenics
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
    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: 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
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