Famous People with Bipolar
Disorder (4 pages) including 75 pictures and a short bio of each.
Some of the older ones are only assumed to be bipolar, by their behavior.
(out of curiosity I looked at the
months each person in my sample was born - out of 71 with months November
had 13, October had 12, Jan, Feb, Mar, May & Sept each had 5, July, Aug,
and Dec each had 4, and April had 3)
Michelangelo di Lodovico
March 6, 1475 - February 18,
He was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, poet
and architect. He is famous for creating the fresco ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel, one of the most stupendous works in all of Western art, as
well as the Last Judgment over the altar, and "The Martyrdom of St. Peter
and "The Conversion of St. Paul in the Vatican's Cappella Paolina.
Among his many sculptures are those of the
Pieta and David, again, sublime masterpieces of their field, as well as
the Virgin, Bacchus, Moses, Rachel, Leah, and members of the Medici family
(April 27, 1759 - September 10,
Mary was the author of A Vindication of
the Rights of Woman, and mother of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Her
husband William Godwin was one of the most prominent atheists of his day,
and a forefather of the anarchist movement..
In 1778, when she was nineteen, Mary
Wollstonecraft left home to take a situation as companion with a rich
tradesman's widow at Bath. After two years she returned home to nurse her
sick mother, who died after long suffering, wholly dependent on her
daughter Mary's constant care. The mother's last words were often quoted
by Mary Wollstonecraft in her own last years of distress-"A little
patience, and all will be over."
Then she went up the river to drown herself.
She paced the road at Putney on an October night, in 1795, in heavy rain,
until her clothes were drenched, that she might sink more surely, and then
threw herself from the top of Putney Bridge, leaving a note for Imlay;
"Let my wrongs sleep with me".
She was rescued, and lived on with deadened
spirit. She had lost everything except her child; her faith in revolution,
in the virtue of the people and in the possibilities of an independent
woman's life Early in 1797 she was married to William Godwin, a
philosopher who was notorious for his rejection of romance and marriage.
On September 10, 1797, at the age of
thirty-eight, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin succumbed to puerperal fever
after the birth of her daughter. Having survived so many difficult
situations, she died when she had so much to live for.
She is rightly remembered as one of the
founders of modern feminism
Ludwig van Beethoven
baptized December 17, 1770 -
March 26, 1827
Beethoven was a German composer, the
predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the
Classical and Romantic eras. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest
Beethoven's career as a composer is usually
divided into Early, Middle, and Late periods.
In the Early period, he is seen as emulating
his great predecessors Haydn and Mozart at the same time exploring new
directions and gradually expanding the scope and ambition of his work
The Middle period began shortly after Beethoven's personal crisis
centering around deafness, and is noted for large-scale works expressing
heroism and struggle; these include many of the most famous works of
Beethoven's Late period began around 1816 and
lasted until Beethoven ceased to compose in 1826. The late works are
greatly admired for their intellectual depth and their intense, highly
Beethoven's personal life was troubled.
Around age 28 he started to become deaf, a calamity which led him for some
time to contemplate suicide He was attracted to unattainable (married or
aristocratic) women, whom he idealized; he never married. A period of low
productivity around 1812 -1816 is thought by some scholars to have been
the result of depression Beethoven quarreled, often bitterly, with his
relatives and others, and frequently behaved badly to other people. He
moved often from dwelling to dwelling, and had strange personal habits
such as wearing filthy clothing while washing compulsively. He often had
It is common for listeners to perceive an
echo of Beethoven's life in his music, which often depicts struggle
followed by triumph; this description is often applied to Beethoven's
creation of masterpieces in the face of his severe personal difficulties.
Beethoven's health had always been bad, and
it failed entirely in 1826. His death in the following year is usually
attributed to liver disease.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
October 21, 1772 -July 25, 1834
Coleridge was an English poet, critic, and
philosopher and, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the
founders of the Romantic Movement in England and as one of the Lake
Poets. He is probably best known for his poem The Rime of the Ancient
In 1800 he returned to England and shortly
thereafter settled with his family and friends at Keswick in the Lake
District of Cumberland Soon, however, he fell into a vicious circle of
lack of confidence in his poetic powers, ill-health, and increased opium
From 1804 to 1806, Coleridge lived in Malta
and travelled in Sicily and Italy, and it was during this period that
Coleridge became a full-blown opium addict, using the drug as a substitute
for the lost vigour and creativity of his youth.
In 1816 Coleridge, his addiction worsening,
his spirits depressed, and his family alienated, took residence in the
home of the physician James Gillman, in Highgate He died in Highgate on
August 18, 1774 - October
He was an American explorer, soldier, and
public administrator; he is best known for his role as the leader of the
Corps of Discovery.
Lewis was born in Albemarle County, Virginia
(near Charlottesville) and moved with his family to when he was ten. At
thirteen he was sent back to Virginia for education by private tutors.
shot at a tavern called Grinder's Stand about 70 miles (110 km) from
Nashville, Tennessee, on the Natchez Trace, while enroute to Washington;
his wrists had been cut, and he had been shot in the head and chest.
Whether his death was from suicide (as is widely believed) or murder (as
contended by his family) has never been conclusively determined; however,
it should be noted that he allegedly attempted to jump into the
Mississippi River and drown shortly before his death, and also was
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron
Byron, Lord Byron
January 22, 1788 - April 19,
He was the most widely read English language
poet of his day. His best-known works are the narrative poems Childe
Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan. The latter remained
incomplete on his death.
fame rests not only on his writings, but also on his life, which featured
extravagant living, debts, separation, allegations of incest and his
eventual death from fever after he travelled to fight on the Greek side
in the Greek War of Independence
Thomas Lovell Beddoes
June 30, 1803 - January 26, 1849
He was an English poet and dramatist. He was
son of Dr. Thomas Beddoes , a friend of Coleridge, and Anna, sister of
Maria Edgeworth. In 1822 he wrote The Brides' Tragedy, an blank
verse drama that was published and well reviewed.
In 1824 he went to Göttingen to study
medicine. He was expelled, and then went to Würzburg to complete his
training. At this period he became involved with radical politics. He was
deported from Bavaria in 1833, and had to leave Zürich, where he had
settled, in 1840.
He continued to write, but published nothing.
His play Death's Jest-Book was published after his death by friends
in 1850, and his Collected Poems in 1851.
He led an itinerant life after leaving
Switzerland, returning to England only in 1846, before going back to
Germany. He became increasingly disturbed, and committed suicide in 1849.
Hans Christian Andersen
April 2, 1805 - August 4, 1875
Hans Christian Anderson was a Danish author
and poet famous for his fairy tales - one of the most well-known authors
of fairy-tales. His works have been translated all over the world. He also
wrote plays, novels, poems, travel books, and several autobiographies.
Although many of his stories are upbeat and entertaining, there is an
element of tragedy in many.
to one writer, "It may also be noted that part of what makes some of the
tales so compelling is Andersen's identification with the unfortunate and
the outcast. A strong autobiographical element runs through his sadder
tales; throughout his life he perceived himself as an outsider, and, never
satisfied that he was completely accepted, he suffered deeply in his
closest personal relationships."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882
Emerson was a famous American essayist and
one of America's most influential thinkers and writers.
Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to
a Unitarian minister and would later become a Unitarian minister himself.
Emerson eventually, however, broke away from the doctrine of his superiors
and formulated and expressed the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his
1836 essay Nature.
After Emerson graduated from Harvard, he
assisted his brother in a school for young ladies established in their
mother's house; when his brother went to Göttingen to study divinity,
Emerson took charge of the school. Over the next several years, Emerson
made his living as a schoolmaster, eventually studying divinity himself,
and emerging as a Unitaritan minister. A dispute with church officials
over the administration of the Communion service led to his resignation.
About the same time, his young wife and one true love, Miss Elena Louisa
Tucker, died in April of 1831.
In 1836, Emerson and other like-minded
intellectuals founded The Dial, a periodical which served as a
vehicle for the Transcendental movement, although the first issue did not
appear until July of 1840. Meanwhile, Emerson published his first book,
Nature, in September of 1836
Robert Alexander Schumann
June 8, 1810 - July 29, 1856
Schumann was a German composer and pianist
in the Romantic period of Classical music.
Probably no composer ever rivaled Schumann in
concentrating his energies on one form of music at a time. At first all
his creative impulses were translated into pianoforte music, then followed
the miraculous year of the songs. In 1841 he wrote two of his four
symphonies. The year 1842 was devoted to the composition of chamber music,
and includes the pianoforte quintet (op. 44), now one of his best known
and most admired works. In 1843 he wrote Paradise and the Pen, his
first essay at concerted vocal music.
On the 27th of February, 1854 he threw
himself into the Rhine. He was rescued by some boatmen, but when brought
to land was determined to be quite insane. He suffered from syphilis, that
had not been properly treated and that developed into its tertiary stage.
He was taken to a private asylum in Endenich near Bonn, and remained there
until his death on the 29th of July 1856. He was buried at Bonn, and in
1880 a statue by A. Donndorf was erected on his tomb..
He experienced periods of great
productivity and creativity, while from the mid-1840s on he suffered
periodic attacks of severe depression and nervous exhaustion, and
contemplated or attempted suicide a number of times.
May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910
The Lady With The Lamp - was the
pioneer of modern nursing
Inspired by what she understood to be a
divine calling (first experienced in 1837 at the age of 17 at Embley Park
and later throughout her life), Nightingale made a commitment to nursing,
a career with a poor reputation and filled mostly by poorer women
The world's most famous nurse is believed to
have suffered from a bipolar disorder, and she once said God had called
her to her work and that she heard voices.
Nightingale suffered from a bipolar disorder
that caused long periods of depression and remarkable bursts of
heard voices and experienced a number of severe depressive episodes in her
teens and early 20s - symptoms consistent with the onset of bipolar
Charles Pierre Baudelaire
April 9, 1821-August 31, 1867)
He was one of the most influential French
poets. He was also an important critic and translator Called 'the father
of modern criticism,' who shocked his contemporaries with his visions of
lust and decay. Baudelaire was the first to equate modern, artificial,
and decadent. In Le peintre de la vie moderne (1863, The Painter of
Modern Life) Baudelaire argued in favor of artificiality, stating that
vice is natural in that it is selfish, while virtue is artificial because
we must restrain our natural impulses in order to be good. The snobbish
aesthete, the dandy was for Baudelaire the ultimate hero and the best
proof of an absolutely purposeless existence. He is a gentleman who never
becomes vulgar and always preserves the cool smile of the stoic
Baudelaire's confrontation of depression with
the consumption of drugs such as opium, hashish and alcohol was a major
influence on his work. Many of his poems were influenced by his interest
in "les correspondances", or synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is the mixing of
the senses, that is, the ability to smell colors or see sounds. He wrote
several poems about the subject itself, such as "Correspondances", and
used imagery and symbolism based on the experiences of synaesthesiacs. In
general, Baudelaire was a sensualist, in love with sensations, and he
tried to experience them and express them in abundance.
Baudelaire was affected by bipolar disorder,
commonly known as manic depression. --
Leo Nikolayevitch Tolstoy
September 9 (August 28, O.S),
1828 - November 20 (November 7, O.S.), 1910
Tolstoy was a Russian novelist, reformer, and
moral thinker, notable for his influence on Russian literature and
politics. As a count, he was a member of the Tolstoy family of Russian
Tolstoy was one of the giants of 19th
century Russian literature. His most famous works include the novels
War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and many shorter works,
including the novellas The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Hadji Murad
Tolstoy's private life is well known in
Russia. He lived his entire life in Yasnaya Polyana. On September 23, ,
the 34 year old Tolstoy married Sonya Andreyevna Behrs, a girl of 18.
Their marriage has been described by A.N.Wilson as one of the unhappiest
in literary history, and was marked from the outset by Tolstoy on the eve
of his marriage giving his diaries of his bachelor escapades to Sonya,
which he made her read. These detailed Tolstoy's sexual relations with his
serfs. He even admits to taking a young lady's virtue, who was forever
disgraced by the encounter (incredibly, he used this as the basis of
His relationship with his wife further
deteriorated as his beliefs became increasingly radical. In one journal
entry, she writes of him becoming increasingly suicidal, unable to
reconcile his faith with the material world. Sonya bore him 13 children, 7
of whom survived to adulthood.
He died of pneumonia at Astapovo station on
Nov.20,1910 after leaving home in the middle of winter at the age of 82.
Charles John Huffam Dickens
February 7, 1812 - June 9, 1870
Dickens, pen-name "Boz ", was an English
novelist of the Victorian era. The popularity of his books/short stories
during his lifetime and to the present is demonstrated by the fact that
none of his novels have ever gone out of print
Dickens separated from his wife in 1858. In
Victorian times divorce was almost unthinkable particularly for someone as
famous as Charles Dickens and he continued to maintain her in a house for
the next twenty years until she died. Although they were initially happy
together, Catherine did not seem to share quite the same boundless energy
for life which Dickens had. Her job of looking after their ten children
and the pressure of living with and keeping house for a world famous
novelist certainly did not help. Catherine's sister Georgina moved in to
help her but there were rumors that Charles was romantically linked to his
sister-in-law. An indication of his marital dissatisfaction was when in
1855 he went to meet his first love Maria Beadnell. Maria was by this time
married as well but she seems to have fallen short of Dickens' romantic
memory of her.
He was buried in the Poets' Corner of
Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads: "He was a
sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his
death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."
Samuel Langhorne Clemens - Mark Twain
November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910
Mark Twain was a famous and popular American
humorist, writer and lecturer
At his peak, he was probably the most popular
American celebrity of his time. William Faulkner wrote he was "the first
truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs." His pseudonym
was derived from the shout used to mark how deep the water was for river
boats - "by the mark, twain" (in other words, mark two fathoms).
In his later life, Twain was a very depressed
man, but still capable. Twain was able to respond "The report of my death
is an exaggeration" in the New York Journal, June 2nd 1897. He lost
3 out of 4 of his children, and his beloved wife, Olivia Langdon, before
his death in 1910. He also had some very bad times with his businesses.
His publishing company ended up going bankrupt, and he lost thousands of
dollars on one typesetting machine that was never finished. He also lost a
great deal of revenue on royalties from his books being plagiarized before
he even had a chance to publish them himself.
Twain himself died less than one year later.
He wrote in 1909, "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming
again next year, and I expect to go out with it." And so he did.
Page Two in Famous Bipolars Series