There are millions of disabled people in the UK including celebrities with disabilities!
Having a disability shouldn’t stop you doing what you want to do with your life as many disabled celebrities have proved.
We’ve put together a list of highly successful celebrities who have overcome their disabilities and worked extremely hard to reach their level of success.
They show us all that a disability doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals – in fact a disability can even make you better than able-bodied people at certain tasks!
1. Stevie Wonder – musician
Musical legend Stevie Wonder became blind shortly after birth.
Despite this, he has had huge musical success – having been rewarded an astonishing 22 Grammy awards for his composing talents and racking up more than 30 top ten US hits.
Wonder’s unique musical talent was obvious from a very young age. He taught himself to play various instruments such as the harmonica, drums, bass and piano.
His heightened awareness of sound enabled him to create vibrant, lively and colourful music.
He is also a very gifted song writer and producer and has become one of the most loved musical performers of the late 20th century.
Wonder is a shining example of an extremely talented individual who has achieved massive success partly because of his disability.
His net worth is estimated at £110 million dollars and he has sold over 100 million albums and singles worldwide.
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2. Stephen Hawking – Physicist and cosmologist
Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor-neuron disease (also known as ALS) at the age of 21.
However, his challenging condition has not prevented him from becoming one of the world’s best-known names in cosmological science and pop-culture in general.
He continues to have a positive impact on the scientific world with his insightful discoveries and theories.
Despite being almost completely paralysed and having to speak through a speech generating device, he is still able to do what he loves.
Hawking’s ‘A brief history of time’ stayed on the British Sunday Times best sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks!
This shows the incredible influence Hawking continues to have on the world and the level of success he has reached.
He is also now the subject of the Oscar nominated movie ‘The Theory of Everything.’
His net worth is estimated at £20 million and he has been married twice, producing two children.
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3. Kitty McGeever – Comedian/Soap Actress
This talented British actress was trained at RADA and lost her sight at the age of 32 after developing diabetic retinopathy.
She is the first blind actress to be cast permanently in a British soap and since 2009 she has played Lizzie Lakely in Emmerdale.
McGeever has talked about her difficulties in finding acting work after losing her sight after having been an actress for many years.
She has said, ‘Having a disability shouldn’t mean the end of doing the job you love’ and this positive attitude inspired her to keep trying and has helped her to achieve success.
Kitty has described her disability as manageable and she undertakes a lot of charity work, to build awareness of disabilities.
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4.Francesca Martinez – Comedian/public speaker
Francesca Martinez is a well-loved comedian, writer, actress and public speaker – frankly there’s not much Martinez hasn’t done.
Martinez was diagnosed at the age of two with athetoid cerebral palsy. This is a health condition marked by impaired and weakened muscle coordination and brain damage.
Martinez has spoken openly in interviews about her condition and has said that she struggled to feel accepted and normal in school, due to her disability.
However, her insecurities took a massive shift when she reluctantly joined a comedy workshop. She has said in interviews that through telling a joke, she was finally able to speak honestly about herself and her condition. Through comedy Martinez finally started to find herself and be confident in herself.
It’s not surprising that Martinez has been listed as one of Britain’s most influential women as she often encourages individuals to accept themselves and quit self loathing.
Martinez has made a name for herself within the comedy industry and has had sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival and internationally. She is inspirational as she encourages individuals to embrace themselves and love themselves for who they are.
Martinez is a strong public speaker and often criticises the media’s emphasis on looking and being perfect. She tells people to embrace their imperfections and is altogether a very good role model for young people.
She is an admirable and respected active campaigner for disability rights and is strongly opposed to government welfare reforms. She uses her popularity within the media and public TV appearances to challenge the government over the disability rights cuts.
Martinez is a good role model, particularly for young people, as she encourages individuals to put things into perspective and enjoy their lives and themselves.
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5. Susan Boyle – Singer
Singing sensation Susan Boyle was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 51.
Asperger’s is described as a ‘hidden disability’. This is because you can’t tell someone has Aspergers from their outward appearance.
Susan’s Asperger’s syndrome means she has always really struggled with social interaction and communication.
Boyle has admitted in interviews how relieved she felt when she was finally diagnosed, as she had struggled to understand throughout her life why she found communicating and social interaction so difficult.
However, Susan has not allowed her Asperger’s to take over her life. She says she still suffers from bad days, but she is learning to deal with it and getting the support she needs.
The multi-millionaire singer’s net worth amounts to £22 million, making her one of the highest paid celebrities in the world.
She has a huge international fan base and her debut album I dreamed a dream in 2009 was the best selling UK debut album of all time.
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6. Warwick Davis – Comedian/actor
The famous English actor, comedian and television presenter is very successful in the UK and has developed a dedicated fan base.
Davis was born with SED, a rare form of dwarfism – and his parents were told he was going to die before he became a teenager.
Thankfully they were wrong and Davis went on to have a very successful career.
He played Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films and has also starred alongside Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in the popular comedy series Life’s too short.
Davis has not just stayed in the comedy and acting industry. He has cleverly used his fame and success to set up a successful side business.
Willow Management is a professional acting agency that specialises in finding acting work for actors under five feet tall and over 7 feet tall. It is the biggest and most popular, well known agency for short actors.
Davis said he started the agency to represent people and show that they are unique, individual actors, not just a ‘collection of dwarfs’.
His side business has been very successful and profitable and many of the actors he represents have been in reputable worthwhile roles.
Davis has starred in big blockbusters such as The Chronicles of Narnia and has played leads in Willow and the Leprechaun film series. He is a good actor with a great sense of humour.
He lives in Yaxley with his wife and two children and his net worth is estimated at £5 million.
7. Adam Hills – Comedian/TV presenter
The Australian comedian and television presenter was born without a right foot and wears a prosthesis.
He doesn’t consider himself to really have a disability as he says there’s nothing he can’t do and his disability doesn’t effect his life or abilities.
He started doing stand-up comedy aged 19 and instantly knew it was the career he wanted to pursue.
He has led a successful comedy and television career and is most popular in his native Australia where he has presented a mainstream television music show.
His British fan base is growing after performing a highly successful show at the Edinburgh Festival and appearing on other British TV panel shows.
Hills has also been a columnist for the BBC’s disability website ‘Ouch!’ One of his columns talks about his disability and he emphasises that it has not prevented him from living his life and doing the things he loves. He talks about all the things he has achieved regardless of having an artificial foot and he tries to inspire other people with disabilities to not let them effect their lives.
He has said, ‘Not only is it possible to lead an exciting and full life while missing a limb, but it’s important to ignore those who say you can’t’. Good positive advice!
The work continues to build up for Hills as he makes the transition from comedy to television presenter.
His fan base is growing internationally as is his pay cheque and he regularly tweets about disability awareness.
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8. Cerrie Burnell – Children’s TV presenter/writer
Cerrie Burnell is best known for her TV presenting career on the BBC’s children’s channel Cbeebies.
Burnell was born with a right arm that ends just below the elbow, however this hasn’t stopped her achieving a successful and varied career.
As well as presenting the popular children’s show, Burnell has also written popular children’s books which include characters with disabilities.
She has acted in UK theatre and some of her books have been translated into plays which she has starred in. Her theatre performances have received positive reviews.
As if this wasn’t enough, she also writes plays and sings.
Burnell has spoken about her disability in interviews saying ‘Having a disability is not a negative label. It doesn’t make you vulnerable or lesser. It just means you’re a minority.’
Burnell’s new children’s book Mermaid is set to be released this year and involves a little girl in a wheelchair.
She says that her disability is not the most interesting thing about her and she is a great example of a talented individual who is moving her career in all sorts of directions.
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9. Alex Brooker – Comedian/TV presenter/journalist
The skilled sports journalist, presenter and comedian is best known for his TV work with channel 4. He has co-hosted The Last Leg with Adam Hills and is an award-winning presenter.
Brooker was born with hand and arm deformities and his right leg had to be amputated when he was a baby. He now wears a prosthetic leg.
He has a successful TV career and has presented the ski jumping show The Jump with Davina McCall.
In the past he has worked as a sports reporter and he currently works for the Press Association. He has a strong love of journalism.
He is committed to supporting disabled charities and fronted a campaign called ‘End the Awkward’ led by disability charity Scope.
The idea of this campaign was to put an end to the awkwardness people feel about disabilities by using comedy in a light-hearted way.
This was after over two-thirds of the British public admitted to feeling uncomfortable talking to a disabled person.
Brooker encourages people to not get hung up worrying about being politically correct. He wants people to treat people with disabilities no different.
His first television appearance was in 2012 and he interviewed the Prime minister and Boris Johnson at the Paralympics ceremony in front of 11 million people.
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10. Laurence Clark – comedian
Laurence Clark is a British stand-up comedian. In 2009 he came first in Shortlist magazines Top ten funniest new comedians. He also has peaked in other roles as an actor, presenter, writer and disability rights campaigner.
Laurence was born with cerebral palsy and uses his work to re-direct the public’s views of people with disabilities.
He has received a very positive response and excellent reviews being called a ‘powerful comedy voice’.
Clark lives in Liverpool with his wife and two children. He is committed to promoting the rights of disabled people and challenges people to see people with disabilities in a different way.
He is an extremely popular comedian who continues to grow in popularity and he has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to a wide audience.
Feel inspired? Know any other disabled celebs we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.