25 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Left-Handed
Left-handed people make up only about 10 percent of the population. But that 10 percent has made quite an impact.
Although the handedness of genius artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1485 to 1564) may never be known for certain, much evidence points to his having been a natural lefty, including statements made by his apprentice, Raffaello da Montelupo, and scientific analysis of the directions of the lines in his sketches. But what may be most telling is two of Michelangelo’s most famous works depict his subjects as left-handed: The sculpture of the biblical David (who holds a weapon in his left hand) and the Sistine Chapel fresco showing Adam reaching for God’s hand (with his left hand). Here is the real reason why some people are left-handed.
Leonardo da Vinci
Universal History Archive/UIG/Shutterstock
Like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci is no longer alive to ask his hand preference, and he lived in a time when left-handedness was discouraged (in part because it was perceived as “evil”). But scientific analysis of his drawings indicates his having used his left hand to draw. That said, there’s some evidence he became left-handed during his adulthood as a result of an injury to his right hand. Check out these 10 fascinating facts about ambidextrous people.
Charlie Chaplin, shown here in 1916’s The Vagabond, always held his violin with his right hand and his bow with his left, as left-handed folks do.
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Paul McCartney is a known lefty, but if you had any doubt, he’s pictured here in 1979, holding the neck of his guitar with his right hand, his left hand poised to play the strings, which is how left-handed people play guitar.
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Two of the four Beatles were left-handed. Besides Paul McCartney, the other was Ringo Starr, pictured here smoking a cigarette with his left hand, as lefties do.
Another person to add to the group of famous left-handed people is Oprah Winfrey, shown here, with her pen in her left hand. She’s often depicted in photos gesturing with her left hand as well. Oprah is among the many high-achievers who’ve been observed to be left-handed. Find out 16 things you never knew about left-handed people.
Another high-achiever who favored her left hand is Helen Keller, who became blind and deaf in childhood and yet conquered her challenges to become a well-known author, educator, and political activist. Here she’s shown reading in braille with her left hand.
Michael Collins, astronaut
While rumors persist that astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, is left-handed, photos of Aldrin show him holding writing utensils in his right hand. But his Apollo 11-mate, Michael Collins, while less well-known, is definitely left-handed, as noted by NASA. Here, he’s shown eating with his left hand.
Rod Laver, tennis great
Notice how Australian tennis star, Rod Laver (number one professional tennis player in the world from 1964 through 1970) is holding his tennis racquet in this 1962 photo? With his left hand. As lefties do.
Sandy Koufax, baseball great
Southpaw pitcher, Sandy Koufax, was the youngest player ever to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (at age 36). He pitched 12 seasons for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1955 to 1966—with his left hand. Discover the real reason you’re right-handed or left-handed.
Several of the current members of the royal family are rumored to be left-handed, but only Prince William is ever depicted signing his name with his left hand.
Another Will to join the famous left-handed people club is funnyman and actor Will Ferrell. Check out what we consider 20 of the worst products for left-handers.
Keanu Reeves is known to be left-handed, although if you catch him playing his bass guitar, you’ll notice he does so as a righty. These are the myths about left-handed people we all need to stop believing.
Another famous left-handed actor, Julianne Moore is shown here gesturing with her left hand, which is something left-handed people tend to do.
January Jones, who played Betty Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, is left-handed. Here she’s signing an autograph with her left hand. In many photos, you can see that she’s holding her purse with her right hand, leaving her left hand free, as many lefties tend to do. These are the 7 ways lefties have advantages over righties.
Angelina Jolie is many things, including an actress, a producer, a humanitarian, an activist, and a mother. She also makes the list for famous left-handed people.
Microsoft entrepreneur, Bill Gates
Bill Gates is known to be a lefty, as was Steve Jobs, which helps bolster the arguments of scientists that there is a connection between being left-handed and possessing superior language skills and creativity. Bill Gates has four rules when it comes to reading (and maybe you should too, whether or not you’re left-handed).
Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
The late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, was left-handed. He’s shown here holding a pen in his left hand, poised to sign a document he’s received from the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly at the Congress building in Caracas, Venezuela in 1999.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Long-time Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, is another left-handed world leader, shown here signing the United Nations guest book with his left hand.
Former President George H.W. Bush
Three of the last five presidents of the United States have been famous left-handed people, including the late George H.W. Bush, shown here gesturing with his left hand.
Former President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, another recent left-handed U.S. president, holds a pen in his left hand after signing the North American Free Trade Agreement, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. in 1993.
Former President Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama is a famous lefty. He’s shown here signing a visitors book on August 7, 1998, at Memorial Park in Nairobi, Kenya, where 248 people died in a terrorist attack. At the time, he was still Senator Barack Obama. His opponent in the 2004 election, John McCain, was also a lefty, so no matter who won that election, the United States would have had a left-handed president that term. Here are more body parts that could determine how smart you are.
Queen Victoria wrote with her right hand but painted with her left—and she was quite the accomplished painter, with her chosen medium being watercolor, as shown here. It’s entirely possible that Queen Victoria naturally favored her left hand but had been coaxed into writing with her right hand by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, who was known to be extremely controlling of Victoria during the young princess’s childhood.
Jack the Ripper
It’s been said that Jack the Ripper was left-handed. This is based on forensic analysis of his crime scenes and of the bodies of his victims. However, no one ever found out who Jack the Ripper really was, which makes it impossible to know for sure if he actually was a lefty.
Other murderers believed to have been left-handed include:
- Billy-the-Kidd (about whom the movie, The Left Handed Gun, was made, starring Paul Newman)
- John Dillinger (who is shown here holding a machine gun with his left hand and a toy gun with his right)
- The Boston Strangler (Albert DeSalvo)
Lefties may be at greater risk for mental disorders and these 9 other hidden dangers of left-handedness.