Color Blindness: Famous Color Blinding People

color blind famous people

There are a lot of famous colorblind people. According to the National Eye Institute, about 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women in the U.S. have some form of color vision deficiency, which means that they can’t distinguish certain colors as well as others who don’t suffer from this condition. A person with red-green color blindness (the most common type) may see reds as brown or greenish, yellows as white or light grey, and greens as black or dark grey. T

We research and list many famous people who suffer from color blindness, including scientists, authors, actors and athletes. Here are some of the most prominent:

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Famous color blind artists

Many famous artists and musicians have been color blind, including Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Isaac Newton and Ludwig van Beethoven. One study found that being color blind made it easier for these artists to create works that were bold in their use of color combinations but still harmonious.

Leonardo da Vinci

Although he was thought to be color blind, Leonardo da Vinci actually suffered from red-green color deficiency—a condition that causes people to see blue and yellow as strongly as they would normally see red or green.

He used a limited palette of just five primary colors — yellow ochre, white lead, vermilion (red), black chalk and earth pigment — to create an array of shades.

Tintoretto

A 16th-century Venetian painter was believed to have been colorblind. Due to this condition, his paintings tended toward muted tones and bluish hues.

Ray Charles

The singer and pianist who only discovered that he was red-green colorblind when he was 46 years old.

Charles announced in 1997 that he was suffering from a degenerative eye condition called glaucoma, which causes blindness. Over time, his vision worsened and by 2004 he had lost most of it—he died on June 10 at 73 years old.

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch painter who lived from 1853 to 1890, is well-known for his Impressionist paintings of natural subjects like flowers and wheat fields. He was not only color blind but also suffered from depression and mental illness.

Vincente Minnelli

Vincente Minnelli was an Italian American film director, actor and producer who lived from 1903 to 1986. He won a number of Oscars for his musicial films including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Pirate (1948) and Gigi (1959).

Vincente was color blind, which he claimed had little effect on his work. He said, “I don’t think I had much trouble doing color; I’m not sure it made any difference in my career.” Minnelli was married to Judy Garland for 16 years and directed her in a number of films including Meet Me In St. Louis.

Claude Monet(1840-1926)

Claude Monet was a French painter who lived from 1840 to 1926. He is known for his Impressionist paintings of landscapes such as water lilies or haystacks in different seasons throughout the year. Monet suffered from cataracts later in life which affected his vision significantly.

He could not see colors and had to hold his painting up to the light in order to determine if they were correct. Vincent Van Gogh Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch post-impressionist painter, was born in 1853 and died at the age of 37. He suffered from depression and mental illness throughout his life which caused him to commit suicide by shooting himself in 1890.

Alexander Calder

The artist who created the mobile, had red-green color blindness. It was said that he used red and green to create his art because it was easier for him to see those colors than others.

Andy Warhol

The pop artist’s works are known for their bright colors, but Warhol also had difficulty distinguishing between certain colors.

He was diagnosed with a form of color blindness called deuteranopia, which causes difficulty distinguishing between the colors green and red.

Bill Cosby

The comedian was diagnosed with red-green colorblindness at age 8 and now uses yellow crayons when drawing because they “look like the real thing”.

Michelangelo

Michelangelo was officially diagnosed with protanopia, one of the most common forms of color blindness. For him, reds, yellows and greens all looked like shades of gray.

Georgia O’Keeffe(1887-1986)

An American painter famous for her floral paintings, was also red-green colorblind. The artist liked to paint flowers because they were easier than people to paint without being distracted by their clothing or skin tone.

Jimi Hendrix

The legendary guitarist’s colorblindness often made it difficult for him to distinguish between red and green; consequently, during live performances he frequently strummed the wrong strings.

Steven Spielberg

Movie director Steven Spielberg, the acclaimed director of movies such as E.T., Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, is colorblind. Although it has not stopped him from making award-winning films, Spielberg has said that he will never use colors to distinguish between characters because he cannot tell them apart.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

The French painter had problems distinguishing between reds, greens, blues and often painted them in the wrong shades. He once said that he saw “in a completely different light than other people.”

Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977)

A conductor who led several orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1912 to 1930 and the New York Philharmonic from 1936 until 1969.

He became colorblind at age 70, but continued to lead orchestras for nearly 20 years after that.

Famous color blind actors

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is a comedian and actor who is colorblind. He says that he cannot tell the difference between red and green, so he frequently mixes up his greens with browns.

Jeremy Irons

Actor Jeremy Irons, best known for playing the role of Scar in The Lion King—who is colorblind and associates his roles solely with black and white. If asked to choose a color that he associated with any character from one of his films, however—he’d pick gray.

David Bowie

David Bowie, the famous British musician and actor, is colorblind. He has said that he cannot tell the difference between red and green and often mixes up his greens with browns.

He says that he can never remember what colors are associated with which character in a film or play because he cannot tell them apart.

Michael J Fox

The Canadian actor best known for playing the role of Marty McFly in Back to the Future, is colorblind. He says that he cannot tell the difference between red and green or blue and yellow.

Stevie Wonder

The famous R&B singer and songwriter is colorblind. He says that he cannot tell the difference between red and green, however, he can see some colors like blue, black and white.

Aldous Huxley

The author of the novel Brave New World, is colorblind. He says that he cannot tell the difference between red and green or blue and yellow.

Jackie Chan

The famous actor and martial artist says that he is colorblind. He claims to be unable to distinguish between reds, greens and blues—and was once asked to wear a blue shirt for a movie, only realizing it was such when someone pointed it out.

Josephine Baker

The famous singer and dancer was colorblind. She says that she couldn’t tell the difference between red, green, yellow and blue—colors that most people can easily distinguish.

Robin Williams

The actor and comedian could not tell the difference between reds, greens, or blues. Once he showed up to an event wearing a blue shirt with brown shoes—accidentally.

Steven Spielberg

The director had trouble distinguishing between colors, so he once chose a green shirt for his character in a movie—only to realize later that it was blue.

Eddie Murphy

At age five, the actor and comedian was diagnosed with a condition that makes it difficult for him to distinguish between reds, greens and blues.

Charlie Chaplin

color blind famous people

The actor and comedian is color-blind, so he sometimes wears the wrong colors. For example, once he wore a blue shirt to an event thinking it was black.

Famous color blind athletes

Dale Earnhardt Sr

One of NASCAR’s most famous racers is color blind. He lets his crew chief pick out the race car’s paint job because he can’t tell what colors they are choosing.

Sonny Liston

The famous boxer was color-blind, which made it difficult for him to see the difference between red and green. One time he accidentally put on a green shirt instead of a white one before stepping into the ring.

Jim Abbott

The pitcher for the New York Yankees has color-blindness, so he wears tinted contacts when he pitches. That way, he can more easily tell the difference between a red baseball and a green one.

Sidney Crosby

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ star hockey player has a form of color-blindness that makes it difficult for him to distinguish between red and green.

Jack Nicklaus

The legendary golfer has been color blind for most of his life, and he even says that it helps him play better. In an interview with Golf Magazine, he said: “I’m not saying this is a good thing or bad thing—it’s just something I’ve learned to live with.”

Jim Abbott

The pitcher won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics, despite being color blind. He was diagnosed with the condition when he was 12 years old—but continued to play baseball professionally well into his 30s.

Chuck Bednarik

The former Philadelphia Eagles standout player, who was colorblind, famously missed a block that led to the winning touchdown in the 1960 NFL Championship game. He also said: “When you get old, you don’t know what time it is—you’re too young for this; and too old for that.”

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the most famous athletes in the world, but did you know that he has a form of red-green color blindness called deuteranomaly? He has trouble distinguishing between these two colors.

Despite being diagnosed with a vision condition that sometimes caused him to strike out at the plate, Jordan went on to become one of baseball’s greatest players.

Kevin Love

A basketball player who has a rare form of color blindness called deuteranopia. He says that he started to notice the condition when he was a child, and although it doesn’t affect his game directly, sometimes makes it more difficult for him to tell certain colors apart.

Brett Favre

Despite having a rare form of color blindness called deuteranopia, NFL quarterback Brett Favre went on to become one of football’s greatest players—though he sometimes has trouble distinguishing between certain colors.

Wayne Gretzky

Although professional hockey player Wayne Gretzky says that he has a rare form of color blindness called deuteranopia, it doesn’t affect his game directly—it just makes it more difficult for him to distinguish between certain colors.

Derek Jeter

Professional baseball player Derek Jeter has been described as having a rare form of color blindness called deuteranopia, but it does not seem to affect his game—it just makes certain colors harder for him tell apart.

Mike Tyson

Despite being called a rare form of color blindness, deuteranopia does not seem to affect boxer Mike Tyson’s performance—he is just unable to distinguish between certain shades.

Hank Aaron

Professional baseball player Hank Aaron has a rare form of color blindness called deuteranopia, but it does not seem to affect his game—it just makes it harder for him to distinguish certain colors from one another.

Famous color blind authors

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

The author Charles Dickens was colorblind, and his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities makes extensive use of symbolism—the reds and whites that represent the revolutionaries versus the British in early nineteenth-century France.

Ernest Hemingway

The American writer Ernest Hemingway is best known for his novel The Old Man and the Sea, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was also colorblind and often used symbolism to convey meaning rather than relying on accurate description.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

A 19th-century English novelist who wrote Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim. He had a condition called color blindness that made it difficult for him to read maps.

Mark Twain

The author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn—who was famously colorblind—said he had trouble distinguishing between yellow and green.

Peter Sellers

A famous actor who was also colorblind. Sellers once said that he couldn’t tell the difference between red and green traffic lights when driving.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

The author of Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Mayor of Casterbridge, among many other works. He may have been tone deaf but was still able to compose music by sight-reading scores at concerts!

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Despite being nearsighted, the English poet was considered one of the most important Romantic poets. His color blindness may have been caused by his poor vision.

Stephen King

The author of “The Shining” and “Cujo,” Stephen King, told an interviewer that he cannot recognize faces or colors. He said he used to rely on touch in order to experience colors—but this made his perceptions different from those who can see them.

Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)

The American poet and short story writer was colorblind. He wrote about his inability to see colors in his poem “The Raven.”

James Joyce

In his novel “Finnegan’s Wake,” the Irish writer James Joyce wrote about his inability to see colors. Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), a famous Dutch painter, suffered from deuteranopia, a form of color blindness.

Vladimir Nabokov(1899-1977)

A Russian novelist and short story writer whose works include “Lolita” and “Ada,” Vladimir Nabokov was born in 1899. According to an article on the author at Nabokov Online Journal, he had a form of color blindness called deuteranopia that made it difficult for him to see reds or greens —— but not blues or yellows

Famous color blind scientists

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is believed by many to have been red-green color deficient. In his autobiography, he wrote: “I am very bad in judging distances … My wife knows that if she comes to meet me when I’m walking out and wants me to look at something on the ground or on a wall or high up somewhere, she must first say how high up it is.”

Alexander Shulgin

Alexander Shulgin was a chemist who invented hundreds of psychedelic drugs and tested them on himself. He had deuteranopia, which made him unable to distinguish between reds and greens.

The reason he was so successful, however, is that he did not let his color blindness hold him back from pursuing a career in science. He discovered the theory of relativity and won a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A French writer, poet, and aviator who is most famous for his novella The Little Prince. The book has been translated into 300 languages and sold over 150 million copies worldwide.

De Saint-Exupery had color blindness; in fact, he was so colorblind that he could not tell the difference between red and green. Despite this disability, he became one of France’s most famous writers.

Charles Darwin

color blind famous people

A naturalist who discovered the principle of evolution by natural selection in 1859—but he also suffered from deuteranopia, a form of red-green color blindness that makes it difficult for people to perceive differences between those two colors (and sometimes others).

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

The man who is considered the father of modern physics and mathematics was red-green colorblind. He had trouble distinguishing between certain shades of blue and green—so much so that he would mix up paint colors when buying supplies for his experiments, or building telescopes!

Nikola Tesla

color blind famous people

The man who invented alternating current electricity distribution, Nikola Tesla, was believed to be colorblind because he did not see any color in objects lit by fluorescent lights (which emit light at specific frequencies). However, there is no evidence that he himself suffered from any form of this condition.

Stephen Hawking

Physicist and cosmologist, who is thought to be colorblind but whose condition has not been medically diagnosed. In his books he mentions difficulty distinguishing between green and blue colors—a possible symptom of a form of red-green colorblindness

Rene Descartes

René Descartes was a famous philosopher and mathematician who had colorblindness. He said that he relied on touch to experience colors, but this made his perceptions different from those who could see them.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

The astrophysicist’s interest in astronomy and space exploration began early on, but it was only after he was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 12 that he realized the necessity of overcoming obstacles.

He said that he has problems with reds and greens, which makes it difficult for him to tell a traffic light from a stop sign. He also said that this means he can’t drive on the road alone because he doesn’t know what color lights mean.

John Dalton

The scientist who discovered the law of partial pressures was color blind. He said that he relied on touch to experience colors—a difference from those who could see them

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interest in space exploration began at a young age, but he only realized the importance of overcoming obstacles after being diagnosed with dyslexia.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

A German writer, poet and scientist. His works include Faust and The Sorrows of Young Werther.

Goethe was color blind and wrote about this condition in one of his most famous poems: “I am weak, I am strong; / I am ugly, I am beautiful; / I am right, I am wrong; / And if ever you find me changing my mind, / You can be sure it is not that my heart has turned.”

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was an American scientist and inventor who found over 300 different uses for peanuts and sweet potatoes. He was also color blind and could only see reds, yellows, and blues.

Famous color blind politicians

There have been many successful politicians who have been color blind too: Ulysses S. Grant (who was known for his ability to “make lemonade out of lemons”), John Quincy Adams (who once stated: “I do not expect the favoritism of fortune”) and Woodrow Wilson (who once said: “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here”).

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Third president of the United States. He was a scientist, writer, inventor and statesman. He is often called one of America’s greatest Presidents because he accomplished so much during his lifetime.

His most famous accomplishment was writing the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was also color blind.

Abraham Lincoln

color blind famous people

The 16th President of the United States, serving from 1861 to 1865. He helped end slavery in America with his Emancipation Proclamation—a document that declared free the slaves within those states that were still part of the Union during Civil War.

Lincoln was also color blind and could only see reds, yellows and blues.

Woodrow Wilson

The 28th President of the United States, Wilson served two terms from 1913 to 1921. He was a statesman and scholar who led America during World War I and helped create the League of Nations. Despite his academic success as a student at Princeton University, he could only see reds, yellows & blues due to color blindness

Richard Nixon

TDuring his presidency, Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal. This event marked the beginning of his political downfall and ultimately led to him resigning from office.

Nixon was also color blind and could only see reds, yellows and blues

Bill Clinton

The 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001.who sufferer of red-green color blindness. He has difficulty distinguishing between red and green, but he can distinguish the colors blue and yellow.

George W. Bush

Bush was the 43rd President of the United States. At an early age, Bush was diagnosed with a form of color blindness called red-green dyschromatopsia. His wife said that she would sometimes have to help him pick out clothes because he had trouble seeing which colors went well together

She said that he didn’t even know what green and blue were until she explained them to him!

Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States and a well-known example of a color blind politician, he was diagnosed with the condition in 2007. During his time as president however, it was not an issue.

Al Gore

In his famous documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore shows how greenhouses gases contribute to climate change by illustrating the effect these gases have on global temperatures using different colored pencils.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

The Prime Minister of Britain during World War II, he was a highly respected leader and is still considered one of the best in British history. Though color blind, Churchill could only see reds, yellows, and blues

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

The civil rights leader was diagnosed with deuteranopia at a young age, but his physical disability did not hinder him from achieving greatness.

In fact, King once said that if he had not been color blind, he might not have become an activist for social justice because he would have seen racism more clearly than others did at that time.

Prince Charles (1948-Present)

The British royal is colorblind, which means he sees the world in black and white. Most people would think this would hamper his ability to appreciate art and architectural beauty; however, it has actually helped him notice more details than most people do when looking at these things.

He told BBC News, “I have to take my glasses off when I’m distinguishing between red and green objects.”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Because she was color blind, the former first lady said that she saw the world more clearly. She once remarked, “I am glad there are colors in the world to paint our days with. If I couldn’t see them—and longed for death so my eyes could rest.”

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled by color blindness. The people who suffer from color blindness are not necessarily unintelligent. They have great personalities and have accomplished many admirable feats in their lives. Above all they should not feel condemned because they cannot see shades of colors. Although they are handicap, color blind people have done their best to overcome it and in some cases they have thrive to achieve their goals despite their disability.

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