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If you are left-handed, you know how excluded you’ve felt growing up in a world where most of the population is right-handed. There’s always a way to do things right-handed, and most products you buy are for righties too (spiral bound books are the worst!).
Did your parents also have to buy you a pair of “special” left-handed scissors for school? Yeah, me too. I was always the odd-one-out, and learning how to do things like knit, hold a pencil or pen, and more from right-handed parents, family, teachers, and friends wasn’t a piece of cake.
I don’t feel so marginalized anymore, and you shouldn’t either. There’s even an International Lefthanders Day, a worldwide celebration on August 13 to embrace the uniqueness of us lefties and promote awareness and inclusivity.
Plus, there are many famous left handed people in the world so you shouldn’t feel alone. It should inspire you to do great things.
Here’s some interesting information about being left-handed before I dive into the world of left-handed celebrities, artists, sports people, and scientists.
The Sordid History of Being Left-Handed
In history, being left-handed has never really been seen as a good thing. My dad was left-handed until it was beaten out of him in primary school in the 1960s, and it’s true that many children were forced to use their right hand instead of their left so they won’t be defective (until recently).
But let’s jump back further.
The tradition of shaking hands goes back to prehistory. Of course, you shake with your right hand, an indication of good faith (and that you don’t have your weapon ready to draw and kill). Ancient civilizations also revered the right hand as a harbinger of good luck, rationality, and useful deeds.
Left-hand dominance meant the complete opposite considering the Latin word for left or on the left side is sinister. So it’s no surprise that if you wrote with your left hand during medieval times, people thought you were possessed by the devil (who is also thought to be left-handed). You may even have been accused of practicing witchcraft!
In Christianity, the left hand of God is his judgment hand, while his right hand is favored.
Various cultures around the world also regard left-handedness as something that’s less than. Muslims and some Nepali use their left hand to clean after urinating or defecating.
In Scotland, you may have bad luck if you meet a left-handed person when you start a journey, while in Ghana, it’s rude or a taboo to point, give, receive, or gesture with your left hand.
Also, if you want to know who are the most famous failures who succeeded in life. then watch this video:
Interesting Facts about Being Left-Handed
Here are a few interesting facts about being left-handed:
25 Famous Left Handed People
Ready to “meet” the most famous of left-handers throughout history?
1. Albert Einstein
It comes as no surprise that lefties are also incredibly intelligent and creative. So it’s no stretch to hear that Albert Einstein was a left-handed scientist.
Whether the use of his left hand caused his brain to think in new and alternative ways, or if Einstein’s left-hand use contributed to his amazing discoveries and inventions, we will never know. However, Einstein is perhaps one of the most influential southpaws in history.
2. Mark Twain
Another influential leftie who changed the face of American literature is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain. The renowned author wrote his seminal books “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” with his left hand.
3. Leonardo da Vinci
Artists are also renowned for being free-thinkers, which is perhaps why so many of them are known to be left-handed. Leonardo da Vinci was able to paint with both his hands (ambidextrous), but he drew and wrote with his left hand, despite it being seen as an evil act.
Historians believe Leonardo may have begun using his left hand more dominantly due to an accident, though this could also be rumors spread by the church to justify his “evil” act.
Other famous left-handed artists include Escher and Edvard Munch.
4. Oprah Winfrey
Being an African American child at school in America during the 1950s was hard enough without having to face ridicule for writing with your left hand, but that’s exactly what media mogul Oprah Winfrey grew up with.
Oprah has spoken openly about her difficulty as a child in writing with her left hand and how teachers tried to force her to write with her right hand.
Despite her early difficulties, Oprah is often seen using and gesturing with her dominant left hand, and it certainly hasn’t held her back in life.
5. Prince William
In Medieval times, knights were taught to fight with their right hand, and being a leftie could have seen you burn at the stake as a witch if you were a woman. However, in today’s age, England’s Prince William is known to be a left-handed monarch-in-the-making.
Even the prince’s grand-sire, George VI, was a southpaw.
6. Marie Curie
Marie Curie, a Polish scientist who helped invent the X-ray machine and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, was a leftie. Curie, who faced incredible opposition by men to her entering the sciences. She married another scientist, Pierre Curie, who also preferred to use his left hand.
Amazingly, their daughter Irene was also a leftie, and continued the tradition of marrying a left-handed man.
7. Paul McCartney
The famous Paul McCartney, a member of the legendary Beatles, is also a left-handed artist. Being left-handed as a musician is challenging as playing a musical instrument with your left hand requires different skills.
In fact, most musical instruments and the lessons to play them are geared at right-handed people.
Pianists are often ambidextrous, which means they can use their right and left hand independently without any dominance that influences their motor control. Mozart, the famed composer was ambidextrous, but he was said to have left-hand dominance.
In the 1700s, being a left-handed composer would likely have meant he would have been forced to use his right hand more.
9. Lady Gaga
Controversy seems to describe the singing icon Lady Gaga. Not only did she show up to the 2010 MTV VMAs in a meat dress, but she is also an actual leftie. She signs her autographs with her left hand, and she has more tattoos on the left-hand side of her body.
10. Celine Dion
“It’s all coming back to me now,” but Celine Dion isn’t just a musical icon. She’s also a renowned leftie who is often seen singing with the microphone in her left hand when she’s on stage.
11. Sylvester Stallone
The famous “Eye of the Tiger” boxer, Rocky Balboa, is a left-handed character portrayed by another real-life leftie—Sylvester Stallone. The actor also posed for the Golden Globes with the award in his left hand, indicating his left-hand dominance.
12. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The law may be blind, but it can also be left-handed, as is the case of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The “notorious RBG” also fought for gender rights and equality, which is perhaps due to her awareness of how differences can cause trauma when people try to change them (such as being left-handed in a right-handed world.)
13. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves is not only a movie icon but also a renowned leftie. The actor may have obvious left-hand dominance in most daily activities, but he plays his bass guitar with his right hand, which is known as cross or mixed-dominance.
14. Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman’s red carpet walks and autograph signings have revealed that she’s a leftie and the actress was also married to another left-handed actor—Tom Cruise.
15. Gordon Ramsay
Working with a knife or flipping pans in the kitchen with your left hand is no mean feat, but the sharp-tongued celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay does so with flair. The TV-chef shows some ambidexterity, but he is known to prefer to use his left hand.
16. Charlie Chaplin
An early actor and comedian, Charlie Chaplin, was known to be left-handed. In his silent movies, Chaplin is often seen playing his violin with his left hand, which is typical of someone with left-hand dominance.
17. Henry Ford
In another stroke of genius, Henry Ford, the automobile giant, was also a renowned leftie. His intelligence and business smarts weren’t at all “affected” by being a “southpaw,” and his Ford Motor Co. thrived, giving the world an iconic automobile brand.
18. Hilary Swank
While not official, actress Hilary Swank is said to be a secret leftie among Hollywood’s ranks. Swank’s drive and creative determination led to her winning an Oscar for Best Actress category in the movie “Million Dollar Baby.”
19. Napoleon Bonaparte
Even dictatorial leaders can be lefties, as is evident with Napoleon Bonaparte. Despite the British newspapers portraying the French leader as being very short, he was normal-sized for the French, but being left-handed was not considered normal in the 1700s.
20. Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts turns heads wherever she goes, but the actress has another reason for turning heads when she signs autographs—she’s a southpaw. Roberts joins the ranks of other Hollywood celebs that are left-handed, showing that the creative arts have a great appeal to lefties.
21. Jack the Ripper
Whether Jack the Ripper was labeled as a leftie by the early forensic scientists because people still saw lefties as being evil in the 19th century or if he was actually left-handed will never be known. However, if he was indeed a leftie, it shows that there’s no truth to the myth that a left hand is weaker than the right.
Another left-handed serial killer was the Boston Strangler who killed 11 women in the 1960's Massachusetts.
22. Jimi Hendrix
Legendary singer and songwriter, Jimi Hendrix, was known to be left-handed. Unlike other left-handed guitarists, Hendrix played with his left hand when performing on stage.
23. Lewis Carroll
We’ll never know if Lewis Carroll held the “looking glass” with his left hand or not, but the English author (born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) was a known leftie.
24. Helen Keller
Being left-handed isn’t an excuse to be held back, and Helen Keller, the renowned deaf-blind author and political activist, is an example of this. Keller is known for her work in education, and she is often pictured reading braille with her left hand.
25. Babe Ruth
Throwing a ball with your left hand can be challenging, but Babe Ruth, the iconic left-handed baseball slugger, stepped up to the plate for 22 seasons. Even baseball gloves weren’t designed for left-handed players, which placed Babe Ruth at a serious disadvantage. However, he still triumphed.
Final Thoughts on Famous Left-Handed People
While only a minority of the global population, you aren’t alone if you are left-handed, even if it feels that way. Just remember this list with many famous people and celebrities who are lefties just like you.
Some of the greats who are southpaws include Julia Roberts, Celine Dion, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, Keanu Reeves, and Leonardo da Vinci.
If you’re a leftie in our very right-dominant world, you know a thing or two about overcoming adversity. But there’s always more to learn so check out our guide with 7 steps to overcome obstacles in your life and achieve your goals.
And if you want more resources about famous people and their struggles, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 25 Famous People with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)
- 17 Successful and Famous People with Disabilities
- 15 Famous & Successful People with a Stutter