VISUALLY HANDICAPPED CELEBRITIES



It stands to reason that every country in the world has its own well-known blind and visually impaired persons who reached exceptional fame in those countries. The ones mentioned here became internationally famous and are mentioned in encyclopedias.


Homer

   - famous Greek storyteller who lived between 800 and 900 years before Christ. Two of the best known ancient Greek epic poems have been attributed to him, the Odyssey and the Iliad. Though no definite proof exists, it has always been assumed that Homer was blind.



Claudius Appius, Caecus

    - Roman dignitary who ordered and supervised the first part of the famous Via Appia a long, alternative road to the Via Latina, which was iniciated in the year 312 before Christ. He partly paid for its construction himself. His nickname "caecus" means the blind one, so that it is supposed that he was blind.



Enrico Dandolo

    The famous blind "Doce" of Venice from 1192 to 1205, who managed to divert the fourth crusade to capture Constantinople.



John Milton

    - 1608-1674 - One of the greatest epic poets of Europe, certainly in the English language. Became completely blind in 1652 at age 46. In 1667 he published his masterpiece "Paradise Lost", followed four years later by "Paradise Regained".



Sir Charles Lyell

    - 1797-1875 - Famous British geologist, who strongly influenced Charles Darwin. He is considered the founder of modern geology. As a youth he already suffered from poor eyesight, which grew steadily worse, until, in later life he became virtually blind.



Louis Braille

    - 1809-1852 - He was born in the village of Coupray, some 40 km outside of Paris in France and lost his sight at age 3 due to an accident in his father's shop. At age 16, when he was a pupil at the National Institute for the Blind in Paris (the first such institution in the world), he invented the braille system of reading and writing for the blind.



Francis Parkman

    - 1823-1893 - Famous American historian. Suffered all his life of poor eyesight. Nevertheless he made extensive travels to gather personal experience for his historical studies.



Thomas P. Gore

    - 1870-1949. "The blind orator"; democratic senator from Oklahoma in the U.S.A. At age 20 he became totally blind. He was a senator from 1907 to 1921 and from 1931 to 1937. He is grandfather of the well-known U.S. author Vidal Gore.



Helen Keller

   - 1880-1968. As a baby Helen Keller became blind and deaf. Her nanny and teacher Anne Sullivan taught her to speak, read and write (braille). At age 24 she graduated with honours from college and became a famous speaker and writer on behalf of the handicapped and other minority groups.



Edgar Degas

   - (1834-1917) French impressionist painter and sculpter. He was practically blind during the last thirty years of his life. In that period he modeled wax sculptures which were cast in bronze after his death.



Aldous Huxley

   - 1894-1963 - Brittish poet, novelist and philosopher. Lost his sight almost completely at the age of 16. Son of Thomas Huxley and brother of Sir Julian Huxley. His best-known book is the science-fiction novel "Brave New World" 1932.



Jorge Luís Borges

   - 1899 - 1986. Argentine poet and short story writer; a major litterary figure in modern Hispanic litterature. In his late fifties, he lost his sight but went on writing -- by dictating -- and lecturing at U.S. universities.



Joaquín Rodrigo

   - 1901-1999 - Spanish composer; lost his sight at age 3 due to diftheria. Became very famous, particularly with his "Concierto de Aranjuez", a composition for classic guitar and orchestra.



George Shearing

   - 1919 - 2011 - Blind British-American jazz pianist, composer. Best known composition: "Lullaby of Birdland".



Ray Charles

   - 1930-2004 - famous blind American pianist-singer, musician and composer. Bes known songs: "Hit the road Jack" and "I can't stop loving you.



José Feliciano

   - 1945. Portorican guitarist singer. Lived mainly in Harlem New York. Born blind due to congenital glaucoma. Maintained his family by performing in night clubs. Best known song: "I wish you a merry Christmas".



Stevie Wonder

   - (1950- ) blind born American rock singer and all round musician, composer and arranger. He recorded his first record at age 10. He was originally launched as the new Ray Charles. Sold over a hundred million records and won 25 Grammy Awards.



Further information about these persons and others may be found in the Wikipedia encyclopedia.