Speech-Language Pathology/Stuttering/Famous People Who Stutter/Writers and Photographers

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Essayist Thomas Carlyle wrote of novelist and stutterer Henry James (1843-1916), author of The Portrait of a Lady and Turn of the Screw: "A stammering man is never a worthless one…It is an excess of delicacy, excess of sensibility to the presence of his fellow-creature, that makes him stammer."[1]

Contemporary fiction authors who stutter include horror writer Peter Straub[2] (1943- ; Shadowland, Ghost Story); mystery writer Paul Johnson (Killing the Blues)[3], and David Shields (Dead Languages includes a funny short story about his childhood experiences in school speech therapy).

John Updike (1932- ; the Rabbit series, Brazil) believes that his stuttering is precipitated when "I feel myself in a false position," such as guilt of being "in the wrong."[4]

Nature writer and editor Edward Hoagland (The Snow Leopard) not only stutters, but was blind for several years. His wrote of this experience in Tigers & Ice. Zoologist Alan Rabinowitz's book Beyond the Last Village (2002) recounts both his explorations in Asia searching for endangered wildlife, and his experiences stuttering.[5]

Benson Bobrick has written popular histories of the English Bible, the American Revolution, Russia and Siberia, and a history of stuttering, Knotted Tongues (1995).

Marty Jezer (died 2005) wrote a history of the 1950s, biographies of Abbie Hoffman and Rachel Carson, and an autobiography, Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words (1997).

Publishers who stutter include Henry Luce (1898-1967), founder of Time magazine and Sports Illustrated; and Walter Annenberg (1908-2002), founder of TV Guide and Seventeen. In 1993, Annenberg donated $500 million to improve American schools.[6]

Photographers[edit | edit source]

P.F. Bentley photographed Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign for the book Clinton: Portrait of Victory.

Howard Bingham, friend of Muhammed Ali and O.J. Simpson, stuttered as a witness in Simpson's trial. Growing up, Bingham "endured the usual teasing from schoolmates because of his stuttering. In high school…he hid behind his stuttering and didn't volunteer for anything." His friendship with Muhammed Ali began in 1962, continued through photographing the Black Panther Party and "virtually every significant urban uprising" in the 1960s. Bingham later worked as Bill Cosby's photographer. He wrote the book Muhammad Ali: A Thirty Year Journey, and worked for years to get his friend the honor of lighting the Olympic flame that started the 1996 Atlanta Games. Ironically, Bingham now sometimes has to talk for Ali, due to Ali having Parkinson's disease.[7]

  1. ^ Bobrick, Benson. Knotted Tongues. New York: Simon&Schuster, 1995
  2. ^ Gross, Terry. Fresh Air, August 15, 2000
  3. ^ Interviewed on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
  4. ^ Bobrick, Benson. Knotted Tongues. New York: Simon&Schuster, 1995
  5. ^ Stuttering Foundation of America newsletter, Summer 2002.
  6. ^ Wallichenski, David. Book of Lists (Boston: Little, Brown, 1995); Fonzi, Gaeton. Annenberg. New York: Weybright & Talley, 1969; Toch, Thomas, "One man's gift to public education." U.S. News & World Report, November 1, 1993, v115, n17, p20.
  7. ^ Zimmerman, I. "Photography That Speaks Volumes" ADVANCE For Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, 7:50, March 23, 1998, page 22.