Famous People
  • Who are some famous people who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder?
Q. Who are some famous people who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder?

This list represents a few of the famous people included in a list posted to a.s.d. on a periodic basis. Much of it is taken from the book by Kay Redfield Jamison, "Touched With Fire; Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament." The Free Press (Macmillan), New York, 1993. Used without permission, but with intent to educate, and not for profit. Please send updates (or additions) to jikelman@ngdc.noaa.gov

"This is meant to be an illustrative rather than a comprehensive list... Most of the writers, composers, and artists are American, British, European, Irish, or Russian; all are deceased... Many if not most of these writers, artists, and composers had other major problems as well, such as medical illnesses, alcoholism or drug addiction, or exceptionally difficult life circumstances. They are listed here as having suffered from a mood disorder because their mood symptoms predated their other conditions, because the nature and course of their mood and behavior symptoms were consistent with a diagnosis of an independently existing affive illness, and/or because their family histories of depression, manic-depressive illness, and suicide--coupled with their own symptoms--were sufficiently strong to warrant their inclusion." (from Touched With Fire...)

H = Asylum or psychiatric hospital

S = Suicide

SA = Suicide Attempt


Hans Christian Andersen, Honore de Balzac, James Barrie, William Faulkner (H), F. Scott Fitzgerald (H), Ernest

Hemingway (H,S), Hermann Hesse (H, SA), Henrik Ibsen, Henry James, William James, Samuel Clemens (Mark

Twain), Joseph Conrad (SA), Charles Dickens, Isak Dinesen (SA), Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville,

EugeneO'Neill (H, SA), Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Leo Tolstoy, Tennessee Williams (H), Mary

Wollstonecraft (SA), Virginia Woolf


Hector Berlioz (SA), Anton Bruckner (H), George Frederic Handel, Gustav Holst, Charles Ives, Gustav Mahler, Modest

Mussorgsky, Sergey Rachmaninoff, Giocchino Rossini, Robert Schumann (H, SA), Alexander Scriabin, Peter Tchaikovsky

Nonclassical Composers and Musicians:

Irving Berlin (H), Noel Coward, Stephen Foster, Charles Mingus (H), Charles Parker (H, SA), Cole Porter (H)


William Blake, Robert Burns, George Gordon, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hart Crane (S) , Emily Dickinson,

T.S. Eliot (H), Oliver Goldsmith, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Victor Hugo, Samuel Johnson, John Keats, Vachel Lindsay (

S), James Russell Lowell, Robert Lowell (H), Edna St. Vincent Millay (H), Boris Pasternak (H), Sylvia Plath (H, S),

Edgar Allan Poe (SA), Ezra Pound (H), Anne Sexton (H, S), Percy Bysshe Shelley (SA), Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Dylan

Thomas, Walt Whitman


Richard Dadd (H), Thomas Eakins, Paul Gauguin (SA), Vincent van Gogh (H, S), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (H, S),

Edward Lear, Michelangelo, Edvard Meunch (H), Georgia O'Keeffe (H), George Romney, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (SA)

Confirmed Bipolars (still living):

Idi Amin, former dictator; Patty Duke (Anna Pearce), actor, writer; Connie Francis, actor, musician; Peter Gabriel,

musician; Charles Haley, athlete (Dallas Cowboys); Kristy McNichols, actor; Spike Mulligan, comic actor; Abigail

Padgett, mystery writer; Murray Pezim, financier (Canada); Charley Pride, musician; Axl Rose, musician; Ted Turner,

entrepreneur, media giant (U.S.); Robin Williams, actor, comedian

Confirmed Unipolars (still living):

Roseanne Arnold, actor, writer, comedienne (also has Multiple personality disorder and

obsessive compulsive disorder); Dick Cavett, writer, media personality; Tony Dow, actor, director; Kitty Dukakis,

Massachusetts first lady; William Styron, writer; James Taylor, musician; MikeWallace, news anchor.

For more information, contact:

Your doctor

Your school / university / private practice counsellor

The Mental Health Unit at the hospital