When Speaking is Stressful: Famous Celebrities Who Stand Strong for Those Who Stutter

Many people stutter and suffer as a result of low self-confidence and other issues. But, if you’re going through this, know that you’re not alone. Here’s how famous celebrities got over it and went on to do great things—you can too!

James Earl JonesJames Earl Jones

It seems impossible that one of the most recognizable voices in the world was hardly capable of speaking at one time. He’s known as the voice of Mustafa and Darth Vader. However, as a child, he had a severe speech impediment that prevented him from talking normally.

His high school teacher helped him by ordering Jones to recite poetry to his class.

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt’s acting career might not have been what it was, had she not dealt with her stammering. The actress and Golden Globe winner had a very severe stammer growing up. Acting in school plays helped her. She joined the Hurtwood House, a college famous for its acting and performing arts programme. Eventually, she grew out of it and overcame her difficulties.

Winston Churchill

We think of him as the great orator. But, he suffered from a stuttering problem his entire life. While he was able to give amazing speeches, he also found it incredibly difficult to give them. Churchill had a fear of not being able to respond in an intelligent manner when asked a question.

This is thought to be the cause of his stuttering. Because he knew his problem, he made sure never to think too hard when speaking. Nearly every witty retort and every speech was written days in advance and written down so that he could be prepared for any question that might come up. In that sense, not only was he a great stammerer, he was an amazing thinker; he typically out-thought any opposition to him, which is why there are only a few instances of him stammering in public.

DemosthenesDemosthenes

We might not think of ancient figures as celebrities, but even if we go back into history to the 4th century B.C. in Athens, Demosthenes, a great orator and politician, is evidence that stuttering isn’t a new phenomenon.

He often practised speech-making with a mouth full of pebbles in order to help cure himself of his affliction.

George Springer

George Springer, the Astros’ star outfielder, grew up stuttering. Yet, that didn’t prevent him from becoming a professional baseball player. Today, he speaks out on the issue and helps others overcome their speech impediments.

Hugh Grant

The actor, Hugh Grant, is famous for his roles in Notting Hill, Music and Lyrics, and most recently The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Florence Foster Jenkins (2016). Growing up, Grant had a severe stuttering problem.

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is thought to have had a stutter, but that didn’t stop him. He was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, near Grantham. And, while he wasn’t a great student, he eventually did get into Cambridge University, where he earned a degree and graduated without honors or distinctions.

Today, he is of course famous for his work in the area of gravity, but he stuttered throughout his entire life. He became one of the most well-known scientists in the history of the world.

Joe Biden

Biden is the Vice President of the U.S. today, but he was mocked relentlessly in Catholic school for stuttering. After hours and hours of practice, he eventually overcame it.

Alan Turing

There are few people in the history of Great Britain, indeed the world, that are as admired as Alan Turing. He had a natural aptitude for science, even as a child. But, he was also eccentric and spoke with a terrible stammer.

He became famous for, of course, his German enciphering machine and other cryptographic discoveries. His work remained unrecognized for many years, but ultimately helped win the war against the Nazis by breaking their codes.

Today, he is considered the founder of computer science.

King George VIKing George VI

Brought to light by the movie “The King’s Speech,” King George VI overcame his stutter with the help of a therapist. During his time, King George had to battle not only his own speech problems but also the fact that there was a revolution in communication happening. The technology didn’t allow him to pre-record his broadcasts, so he had to give speeches live.

When he addressed the nation, it was live.

At one point, he was told that smoking cigarettes might help, but this proved to be false. In fact, he died of lung cancer in 1952 at the age of 56. The King and Queen tried all of the traditional court doctors before being given the advice that stammering was a form of mental weakness.

An Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, was brought in to help the King, and they eventually became friends and the King nearly cured his disability with Logue’s help.

Tactics like “masking” were used—a strategy where headphones are placed over the person’s ears and music is played so that the patient does not become self-aware of his or her own stammering. And various relaxation techniques helped the King calm his anxiety.

 

Photo Credits

James Earl Jones – Wikimedia Creative Commons

Demosthenes – Wikimedia Public Domain

King George VI – Wikimedia Public Domain

Isaac Newton – Wikimedia Public Domain

 


Guest Author Bio

Madeline Pittman

Madeline Pittman is an accomplished speaker but also understands how challenging many people find the prospect of public speaking and staying calm under pressure. She likes to share her insights on how to cope with stressful scenarios with an online audience and writes regularly for a variety of relevant websites.

 

 

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