- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had a childhood a stutter, which was covered in a story by The Atlantic in November.
- In a December interview with Axios on HBO , Biden dismissed the connection between his stutter and his verbal slips or gaffes on the campaign trail.
- Other famous actors, politicians, and singers have had stutters, including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Kendrick Lamar.
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Many famous people have had stutters.
Stuttering is a neurological condition where someone typically repeats, extends, or is unable to produce a sound. Worldwide, about 70 million people stutter .
In November, The Atlantic published a story about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's stutter, and how the condition has been interpreted as a sign of his age and mental fitness. However, on December 8, Biden told Axios on HBO that his stutter had nothing to do with any of his verbal missteps during the campaign.
He said, "Look, the mistakes I make are mistakes. And some people think I still stutter. I don't think of myself that way."
For about 4% of people, stuttering is a childhood condition. But for about 1% of people , it can carry on for their entire lives. Medical professionals say that stutters cannot be cured, though they can be treated .
Stuttering can make finding work difficult. It's also led to the careers of quite a few actors, since jumping into another personality often helps people to speak unimpeded.
Here are 15 famous people who have had a stutter.
Novelist Lewis Carroll who wrote "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," had a stutter. According to The Star, Carroll wrote his fluent fantasy novels to escape from his life-long stutter.
Sources: The Star
King George IV was eight years old when he started stuttering. He particularly struggled with the letter "k," which was difficult considering his title was King of England. Colin Firth portrayed his attempt to overcome the stutter as he prepared to give a radio broadcast to England in the Oscar-winning film "The King's Speech." King George stuttered his whole life, although he did improve it through speech therapy.
The Print Collector/Getty
Actor Marilyn Monroe stuttered as a child, and then for two years at high school. She learned to cope with it by following a speech therapist's advice to speak with a throaty tone, which became one of her trademarks. She started noticeably stuttering again during her final film, "Something's Got to Give," because she was under a lot of personal stress.
Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images
Mathematician Alan Turing, who cracked the Nazi Enigma code during World War II, had a stutter, although some later portrayals have exaggerated how severe it was.
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, had a stutter when he was young. According to The Stuttering Foundation, Presley struggled with words beginning with "w" or "i."
James Earl Jones, the man behind the voice of Mufasa on "The Lion King" and Darth Vader from "Star Wars," had a stutter that was so bad he barely spoke for eight years. He learned to work with it though he said he wouldn't say he was cured by reading poetry to his class.
Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post via Getty
Blues musician BB King had a stutter that his friends mocked him for when he was young. He told People in 1979 that concentrating strongly on his music cured his stutter.
Paul Natkin / Getty
As a teenager, former Vice President Joe Biden fought his stutter by reciting Yeats and Emerson in his bedroom. In December, he told Axios on HBO that he doesn't think he still stutters. "Look, the mistakes I make are mistakes," he said. Sometimes he has to search for the right words, he said, but that was from being tired, and not a stutter.
Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Actor Bruce Willis had a childhood stutter that made him take up to three minutes to say a single sentence. He said he was bullied for it. In a speech to the American Institute, he said, "It's easy to get frustrated with a child who stutters, but believe me, the one who stutters is much more frustrated. Be patient, always listen. Offer encouragement, give positive reinforcement always."
Actor Nicole Kidman also stuttered as a child. She told Newsweek when it happened everyone would tell her to calm down and think about what she was going to say. "I remember when I was little, just being so excited to get it out and I couldn't," she said. She slowly grew out of it.
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
Former world champion golfer Tiger Woods also stuttered as a child. In a letter he wrote to a boy who was struggling with his own stutter, Woods said, "I know what it's like to be different and to sometimes not fit in. I also stuttered as a child and I would talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen until he fell asleep." Woods took a class for two years and learned to deal with it.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson spent almost a year not talking because of how severely he was bullied over his stutter. Two words that really helped Jackson were "mother f---er." He told Vanity Fair the swear word was a way to focus and release the pressure. He still stutters now.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Actor Emily Blunt had a severe stutter, which was most prominent when she was in her early teens. Her classmates mocked her for it. "A stutter can be like a straitjacket," she told NPR. She tried relaxation therapy, but a teacher suggested she try acting after he noticed she was good at accents. In her first play, she got through all of her lines in a Northern English accent without slipping.
Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar stuttered as a child. He was still stuttering late into high school over certain words when he was in trouble or excited. He told The New York Times, "I think that's why I put my energy into making music. That's how I get my thoughts out."
Singer Ed Sheeran tried speech therapy and homeopathy to treat his stutter, but what helped was rapping along to Eminem. His father bought him his first Eminem album when he was nine years old and that helped him through it. "He raps very fast and very melodically, and very percussively, and it helped me get rid of the stutter," he said in a speech in 2015.
Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP
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