August 13 is International Left-Handers Day. It is estimated that between 10-30 percent of the world’s population is left-handed. While lefties might be in the minority, they definitely have representation. However, there are some unsettling facts that have emerged about southpaws. Some of these factoids include a shorter life expectancy, more prone to mental illness and psychosis, as well as a higher risk of alcoholism and insomnia. However, lefties should take heart because it is not all bad news. There are also a number of famous left-handed individuals who have made their names in many fields and occupations. In celebration of International Left-Handers Day, here are some famous left-handers who have succeeded and do the day proud.
1. President Barack Obama–The current Commander-in-Chief and 44th President of the United States Barack Obama is a well-known southpaw. However, it is important to note that many world leaders and former U.S. presidents are also lefties. Some of these famous lefties include former Presidents Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy (JFK), Thomas Jefferson, and George H.W. Bush, Sr. Other world leaders who were also southpaws include former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as well as Royal Family members Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince William.
2. Jack the Ripper–The infamous serial killer who terrorized London in the 1880s was also a left-handed individual. While there has been extensive speculation about Jack the Ripper’s identity, the killer, who was also known as “the Whitechapel Murderer” as well as “Leather Apron,” has never been officially identified and the crimes associated with this brutal criminal remain unsolved. However, Jack the Ripper is far from the only criminal southpaw. Other left-handers of note include Billy the Kid (William Bonney), John Dillinger, and Albert DeSalvo, who was also known as the Boston Strangler.
3. Julius Caesar–The historic Roman statesman, dictator, and general, who played a pivotal role in the shaping of his country’s political landscape and eventual rise of the Roman Empire, was also a left-hander. Moreover, his assassination and betrayal by his best friend, Brutus, has made famous the date of his death, March 15, which is also known as the Ides of March. However, Julius Caesar is not the only famed left-handed conqueror to live on among the annals of history. Other historical figures who were also famous left-handers include Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte.
4. Jimi Hendrix–The legendary musician was well-known among left-handers. An interesting fact about Hendrix that many might not know is that the iconic guitarist never played a left-handed instrument. In fact, he taught himself to play an electric guitar, which is standardized for right-handed musicians, upside down with his left hand. Although his music career and life were short-lived due to drugs, he headlined the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, and is considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in history, as well as one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th Century. Yet, the music world has embraced many left-handers among its ranks. In addition to Jimi Hendrix, other left-handed musicians include Kurt Cobain, Phil Collins, Martina McBride, and Ringo Starr of The Beatles.
5. Charlie Chaplin–The silent film actor, director, and performer was not only a famous left-handed person, but he lived a very eventful and colorful life on-screen and off. Chaplin rose to worldwide fame via his screen persona “the Tramp” and is considered one of the most important figures in Hollywood, as well as the history of film. The filmmaker’s antics both on-screen and in his personal life eventually resulted in Chaplin’s exile from the United States. However, Chaplin is far from the only left-handed performer in the Entertainment industry. In fact, lefties tend to be drawn to careers in the arts, culture, and music fields. There are a number of famous left-handed performers including Robert DeNiro, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, and Steve McQueen just to name a few.
Since August 13 is International Left-Handers Day, it is only fitting to acknowledge all the southpaws out there. While lefties might be in the minority, it is estimated that between 10-30 percent of the world’s population is left-handed. Therefore, they definitely have representation. While there are some unsettling facts that have emerged about left-handers, there are also some benefits to being left-handed. Some of these benefits include multi-tasking abilities, athletic prowess, increased 3D and spatial perception, as well as thought processing. Moreover, studies have shown that left-handed individuals with genius IQs outnumber right-handed people with similar intellect. In fact, famous left-handed intellectuals include Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Benjamin Franklin. Thus, lefties should take heart because it is not all bad news. There are many famous left-handed individuals who have made their names in many fields and occupations. In celebration of International Left-Handers Day, this article has acknowledged some famous left-handed individuals who have succeeded and do the day proud.
Written and Edited By Leigh Haugh
TIME–How Lefties First Gained Acceptance
Mirror–It’s International Left-Handers Day and Here Are Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Lefties
Buzz Feed–59 Famous People Who Are Left-Handed
Indiana University–Famous Left-Handers
ChronicleLive–International Left-Handers Day: Famous Left-Handed People Throughout History