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There are many famous people with autism. They include athletes, actors, inventors, business leaders, authors and artists.

There are about 180 famous autistic people I found as part of our research on Ongig’s series on neurodiversity. I felt inspired to list all these amazing people in one place!

The number of people/celebrities with autism may be greater than you think. Was Steve Jobs Autistic? Autistic spokesperson Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with Autism at just 2 years old, told Mercury News that “half of Silicon Valley’s got mild autism”:

“Einstein would be labeled autistic today…Steve Jobs was probably on the spectrum…”

source: Temple Grandin: Half of Silicon Valley’s got mild Autism (Mercury News)

steve jobs

Was Steve Jobs Autistic? Autistic Spokesperson Temple Grandin and The Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide, among others, speculate that he was on the spectrum. (image source: Matthew Yohe)

 

Disclaimers: This list includes famous people with Autism who have been diagnosed and those who have been reported or rumored to fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum. I do my best to list resources for any questionable ones and welcome feedback, additions and edits! I am not an expert on autism.

Celebrities with Autism

If you had to list the very top celebrities with autism, it’d likely be this list:

  1. Woody Allen (rumored)
  2. David Byrne (diagnosed)
  3. Dan Aykroyd (diagnosed)
  4. Charles Darwin (rumored)
  5. Thomas Edison (rumored)
  6. Albert Einstein (rumored)
  7. Darryl Hannah (diagnosed)
  8. Alfred Hitchcock (rumored)
  9. Courtney Love (diagnosed)
  10. Lionel Messi (rumored)
  11. Sir Isaac Newton (rumored)
  12. Steve Jobs (rumored)
  13. Jerry Seinfeld (self-diagnosed)

But let’s break it down in more detail.

There are so many reported famous people with autism that I categorize them by their professional field (Actors, Athletes, Musicians, Leaders, etc.). I also added a section for celebrities with autistic children.

I do my best to provide sourcing wherever I could.

I hope you’re as inspired by these great humans as I am!

Famous Actors with Autism (Other Entertainment Pros Too)

There are a number of celebrities with autism. Let’s start with actors:

Anthony Hopkins Autistic

Is Sir Anthony Hopkins Autistic? According to Mercury News, he received a late-in-life diagnosis of Asperger’s. (image source: Creative Commons, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Dan Aykroyd – Comedic Actor
  • Roseanne Barr – Actress
  • Chuggaaconroy – YouTube Personality
  • Stephanie Davis – Actress
  • Rick Glassman – Actor
  • Paula Hamilton – Model
  • Darryl Hannah – Actress & Environmental Activist
  • Dan Harmon – Producer & Writer
  • Sir Anthony Hopkins – Actor (source: Mercury News)
  • Heather Kuzmich – America’s Next Top Model Contestant
  • Matthew Labyorteaux – Actor
  • Desi Napoles – Model
  • Freddie Odom Jr. – Actor
  • Kim Peek – Inspiration for Rain Man Movie
  • Sue Ann Pien – Actor
  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson – TV Personality & Socialite
  • Albert Rutecki – Actor
  • Billy West – Voice Actor
  • Alexis Wineman – Miss America Contestant

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

Famous Athletes with Autism

Among other celebrities with autism are amazing athletes. If you don’t recognize some of these people, don’t fret (I didn’t either)…but when I researched them they are indeed celebrities within their field!

Lionel Messi Autistic

Is Lionel Messi Autistic? The Autistic Community Network (ACN) out of Australia reports that he is on the spectrum. (image source: Кирилл Венедиктов, Wikipedia

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Jessica-Jane Applegate – Swimmer
  • Michael Brannigan – Track & Field Athlete
  • David Campion – Snowboarder
  • Breanna Clark – Paralympic Athlete
  • Ulysse Delsaux – Racecar Driver
  • Tommy Dis Brisay – Runner, Kayaker & Cross-Country Skiier
  • Jim Eisenreich – Major League Baseball Player
  • Todd Hodgetts – Paralympic Athlete
  • John Howard – Fighter
  • Anthony Ianni – Basketball Player
  • Lisa Llorens – Paralympic Athlete
  • Clay Marzo – Surfer
  • Frankie MacDonald – Meteorologist
  • Jason McElwain – Basketball Player
  • Cody Ware – Racecar Driver
  • Armani Williams – Racecar Driver
  • Samuel Von Einem – Table Tennis Star

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

Famous Musicians with Autism

Courtney Love Autistic

Is Courtney Love Autistic? According to All That is Interesting, she was diagnosed as “mildly autistic” when she was a young girl. (image source: Manfred Werner, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Susan Boyle – Britain’s Got Talent Singing Sensation
  • David Byrne – Musician
  • Johnny Dean – Musician
  • Tony DeBlois – Musician
  • Jody DiPiazza – Musician
  • Pertti Kurikka – Musician
  • Ladyhawke – Musician
  • Kodi Lee – Musician
  • Left at London – Musician
  • Rex Lewis-Clack – Musician
  • Abz Love – Rapper
  • Courtney Love – Singer & Actress (source: All That is Interesting)
  • Thristan Mendoza – Musician
  • Heidi Mortenson – Musician
  • Hikari Ōe – Composer
  • Matt Savage – Musician
  • Graham Sierota – Musician
  • SpaceGhostPurp – Musician
  • Mark Tinley – Musician & Presenter
  • Donald Triplett – Musician & Savant
  • Aleksander Vinter – Musician

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

Other reported musical celebrities with autism include:

Famous Comedians with Autism

Jerry Seinfeld Autistic

Is Jerry Seinfeld Autistic? He has reportedly self-diagnosed and says he on the spectrum according to USA Today. (image source: SLGCKGC, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Hannah Gadsby – Comedian
  • Robert White – Comedian
  • Bethany Black – Comedian

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

  • Jerry Seinfield – Comedian (source: USA Today)

Famous Scientists with Autism, plus Inventors & Mathematicians

Barbara McClintock Autistic

Was Barbara McClintock Autistic? The Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide suggests she was somewhere on the Autism spectrum. (image source: Smithsonian Institution, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Bram Cohen – Inventor of BitTorrent
  • Michelle Dawson – Researcher

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

Famous Writers with Autism

Aoife Dooley Autistic

Is Aoife Dooley Autistic? She was diagnosed at the age of 27, according to RTE. (image source: LoopDaLoop, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Mel Baggs – Writer
  • Kage Baker – Writer
  • Sean Barron – Journalist
  • Lydia X. Z. Brown – Writer & Speaker
  • Matt Bruenig – Blogger & Political Analyst
  • Dani Bowman – Motivational Speaker, Writer & Artist
  • Nicole Cliffe – Writer
  • Laura Kate Dale – Author
  • Aoife Dooley – Writer (source: RTE)
  • Corrine Duyvis – Author
  • Temple Grandin – Author, Speaker & Animal Science Professor
  • John R. Hall – Author
  • Naoki Higashida – Writer
  • Helen Hoang – Author
  • Liane Holliday Willey – Author
  • Luke Jackson – Author
  • Rosie King – Writer & Public Speaker
  • Thomas A. McKean – Author
  • Jonathan Mitchell – Blogger & Writer
  • Jack Monroe – Food Writer
  • Caiseal Mor – Writer
  • Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu – Author & Editor
  • Jasmine O’Neill – Author
  • Brant Page Hanson – Writer & Radio Personality
  • Dawn Prince-Hughes – Author
  • Sue Rubin – Author
  • Stephen Shore – Author & Professor
  • Andreas Souvaliotis – Author
  • Sarah Stup – Writer
  • Susanna Tamaro – Novelist
  • Chuck Tingle – Author
  • Donna Williams – Writer & Artist

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

 

Famous Leaders with Autism

Thomas Jefferson Autistic

Was Thomas Jefferson Autistic? The Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide suggests he had some peculiar behaviors that would place him somewhere on the Autism spectrum. (image source: Rembrandt Peale, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Kevin Healy – Autism Activist
  • Poom Jensen – Thai Leader
  • Amy Knight – Politician
  • Jared O’Mara – Politician
  • David Nelson – Activist
  • Shain Neumeier – Activist
  • Jim Sinclair – Activist
  • Judy Singer – Disability Rights Activist
  • Dr. Vernon Smith – Nobel Prize Winner in Economics

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

 

Famous Artists with Autism

Vincent Van Gogh Autistic

Was Vincent van Gogh Autistic? All That is Interesting makes a case that he was somewhere on the Autism spectrum. (image source: Self-Portrait, Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • Miina Äkkijyrkkä – Artist
  • Danny Beath – Nature Photographer
  • Deborah Berger – Artist
  • Larry John Bissonnette – Artist
  • Patrick Francis – Artist
  • Govy – Artist
  • Jorge Gutierrez – Artist
  • Lina Lang – Artist
  • Jonathan Lerman – Artist
  • Julian Martin – Artist
  • Haley Moss – Pop Art Artist
  • Tim Sharp – Artist
  • Gilles Tréhin – Artist
  • Willem van Genk – Artist
  • Richard Wawro – Artist

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

Famous Poets with Autism

Emily Dickinson Autistic

Was Emily Dickinson Autistic? Early Childhood Education Degree discusses her struggles with the possibility of being Autistic. (image source: Wikipedia)

Diagnosed with Autism

  • David Eastham – Poet
  • Christopher Knowles – Poet
  • David Miedzianik – Poet
  • Henriette Seth F. – Poet, Musician, Artist & Writer

Reported/Rumored to Have Autism

Celebrities with Autistic Children

When looking for famous people with autism, we also found a list of famous people with autistic children. (Editor’s note: it’s amazing…my Google tool ahrefs.com shows 500+ people per month search terms like “famous people with autism children”.) The list is broken down into categories just like the lists of famous people with autism above.

Famous Actor Parents of Children with Autism

  • Ed Asner – Actor
  • Gary Cole – Actor
  • Robert DeNiro – Actor
  • Christopher Gorman – Actor
  • Jacqueline Laurita – Actress
  • Joe Mantegna – Actor
  • Jenny McCarthy – Actress
  • Paddy McGuiness – Actor & Comedian
  • Aidan Quinn – Actor
  • Nikki Reed – Actress
  • Holly Robinson Pete – Actress & Rodney Pete – NFL Star
  • Silvester Stallone – Actor
  • John Travolta – Actor & Kelly Preston – Actress

Famous Artist Parents of Children with Autism

  • Tommy Hilfiger – Clothing Designer

Famous Athlete Parents of Children with Autism

  • Doug Flutie – Football Player
  • Dan Marino – NFL Star & Actor
  • Deron Williams – NBA Star

Famous Musician Parents of Children with Autism

  • Waleed Aly – Musician & Writer
  • Toni Braxton – Singer
  • Stephen Stills – Musician
  • Shawn Stockman – Singer

Famous Autistic People in History

Some people wanted to see just the diagnosed famous autistic people in history in one place so I’ve added an additional section here.

  • Miina Äkkijyrkkä – Artist
  • Jessica-Jane Applegate – Swimmer
  • Dan Aykroyd – Comedic Actor
  • Mel Baggs – Writer
  • Kage Baker – Writer
  • Roseanne Barr – Actress
  • Sean Barron – Journalist
  • Danny Beath – Nature Photographer
  • Deborah Berger – Artist
  • Larry John Bissonnette – Artist
  • Bethany Black – Comedian
  • Dani Bowman – Motivational Speaker, Writer & Artist
  • Susan Boyle – Britain’s Got Talent Singing Sensation
  • Michael Brannigan – Track & Field Athlete
  • Lydia X. Z. Brown – Writer & Speaker
  • Matt Bruenig – Blogger & Political Analyst
  • David Byrne – Musician
  • David Campion – Snowboarder
  • Chuggaaconroy – YouTube Personality
  • Breanna Clark – Paralympic Athlete
  • Nicole Cliffe – Writer
  • Bram Cohen – Inventor of BitTorrent
  • Laura Kate Dale – Author
  • Stephanie Davis – Actress
  • Michelle Dawson – Researcher
  • Johnny Dean – Musician
  • Tony DeBlois – Musician
  • Ulysse Delsaux – Racecar Driver
  • Jody DiPiazza – Musician
  • Tommy Dis Brisay – Runner, Kayaker & Cross-Country Skiier
  • Aoife Dooley – Writer (source: RTE)
  • Corrine Duyvis – Author
  • David Eastham – Poet
  • Jim Eisenreich – Major League Baseball Player
  • Patrick Francis – Artist
  • Hannah Gadsby – Comedian
  • Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu – Author & Editor
  • Rick Glassman – Actor
  • Govy – Artist
  • Temple Grandin – Author, Speaker & Animal Science Professor
  • Jorge Gutierrez – Artist
  • John R. Hall – Author
  • Paula Hamilton – Model
  • Darryl Hannah – Actress & Environmental Activist
  • Dan Harmon – Producer & Writer
  • Kevin Healy – Autism Activist
  • Naoki Higashida – Writer
  • Helen Hoang – Author
  • Todd Hodgetts – Paralympic Athlete
  • Liane Holliday Willey – Author
  • Sir Anthony Hopkins – Actor (source: Mercury News)
  • John Howard – Fighter
  • Anthony Ianni – Basketball Player
  • Luke Jackson – Author
  • Poom Jensen – Thai Leader
  • Rosie King – Writer & Public Speaker
  • Amy Knight – Politician
  • Christopher Knowles – Poet
  • Pertti Kurikka – Musician
  • Heather Kuzmich – America’s Next Top Model Contestant
  • Ladyhawke – Musician
  • Matthew Labyorteaux – Actor
  • Lina Lang – Artist
  • Kodi Lee – Musician
  • Left at London – Musician
  • Jonathan Lerman – Artist
  • Rex Lewis-Clack – Musician
  • Lisa Llorens – Paralympic Athlete
  • Abz Love – Rapper
  • Courtney Love – Singer & Actress (source: All That is Interesting)
  • Julian Martin – Artist
  • Clay Marzo – Surfer
  • Frankie MacDonald – Meteorologist
  • Jason McElwain – Basketball Player
  • Thomas A. McKean – Author
  • Thristan Mendoza – Musician
  • David Miedzianik – Poet
  • Jonathan Mitchell – Blogger & Writer
  • Jack Monroe – Food Writer
  • Caiseal Mor – Writer
  • Heidi Mortenson – Musician
  • Haley Moss – Pop Art Artist
  • Desi Napoles – Model
  • David Nelson – Activist
  • Shain Neumeier – Activist
  • Freddie Odom Jr. – Actor
  • Hikari Ōe – Composer
  • Jasmine O’Neill – Author
  • Jared O’Mara – Politician
  • Brant Page Hanson – Writer & Radio Personality
  • Kim Peek – Inspiration for Rain Man Movie
  • Sue Ann Pien – Actor
  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson – TV Personality & Socialite
  • Dawn Prince-Hughes – Author
  • Sue Rubin – Author
  • Albert Rutecki – Actor
  • Matt Savage – Musician
  • Henriette Seth F. – Poet, Musician, Artist & Writer
  • Graham Sierota – Musician
  • Jim Sinclair – Activist
  • Judy Singer – Disability Rights Activist
  • Tim Sharp – Artist
  • Stephen Shore – Author & Professor
  • Dr. Vernon Smith – Nobel Prize Winner in Economics
  • Andreas Souvaliotis – Author
  • SpaceGhostPurp – Musician
  • Sarah Stup – Writer
  • Susanna Tamaro – Novelist
  • Chuck Tingle – Author
  • Mark Tinley – Musician & Presenter
  • Gilles Tréhin – Artist
  • Donald Triplett – Musician & Savant
  • Richard Wawro – Artist
  • Cody Ware – Racecar Driver
  • Billy West – Voice Actor
  • Robert White – Comedian
  • Armani Williams – Racecar Driver
  • Donna Williams – Writer & Artist
  • Alexis Wineman – Miss America Contestant
  • Willem van Genk – Artist
  • Aleksander Vinter – Musician
  • Samuel Von Einem – Table Tennis Star

In researching celebrities with autism, I found a few individuals with autism spectrum disorder who have had a negative impact on society including Elliot Rodger, Nikolas Kruz, Tristan Andrew Tyrell, Cary Stayner, Jemma Lilley, John Ausonius “Laser Man”, and James Fairweather. I chose to focus this article on all the amazing POSITIVE people with autism.

Other Celebrities with Autism?

My list is by no means complete. Please let me know if you find other celebrities with autism and I will be glad to add them to this growing list!.

Just ping me at Heather@Ongig.com.

If you enjoyed this list, you might also want to check out Famous People with Dyslexia [A List of 175+ Actors, Athletes, Musicians & Scientists]

And a final thanks goes to…

Thank you, you Neurodiversity Pros!

These pros on famous people with autism helped me source the article — thank you!

  1. Psycom.net’s article on 7 Famous People With Autism Spectrum Disorder
  2. Applied Behavior Analysis’s article on History’s 30 Most Inspiring People on the Autism Spectrum
  3. Wikipedia’s People on the Autism Spectrum
  4. Asperger/Autism Network’s article on Asperger Profiles: Successful Adults
  5. Men’s Health Article on 11 Famous People With Autism
  6. Applied Behavior Analysis’s article on 5 Top Athletes on the Autism Spectrum
  7. AspergerSydrome.me.uk’s article on Famous People with Asperger Syndrome or Similar Autistic Traits
  8. LifeHack.org’s article on 15 Successful People with Autism Who Have Inspired Millions of People
  9. Austim-Help.org’s article on Famous Cases Of Asperger’s Syndrome
  10. Women of Silicon Valley’s article on Neurodiversity in Silicon Valley
  11. Matt Davenport’s Mercury News piece on Half of Silicon Valley’s got mild Autism
  12. Mary Sauer’s article on 15 celebrity parents who’ve gotten real about raising kids with autism
  13. AngelSense’s blog on 5 Celebrity Parents Who Are Open About Raising a Child with Autism
  14. Kate Millner-Wilson’s article on Celebrities with Children on the Autism Spectrum
  15. Grace Back’s article on 6 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Openly About Autism

Why I wrote this?

Ongig is on a mission to eliminate boring and biased job descriptions. As part of this, we try to share best practices on all aspects of diversity. For example, Ongig’s Text Analyzer helps you avoid words that are exclusionary to neurodiverse people. Please visit Ongig if you’d like to learn more.

by in Diversity and Inclusion