Top 7 Celebs with Autism

History is full of notable figures who were either diagnosed with autism or were well-recognized to be on the spectrum (think Tesla and Einstein). Some may even be familiar with some of today’s prominent celebrities, such as Daryl Hannah or Dan Akroyd, who have publicly discussed their autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Here are seven more A-listers that may fly under your radar but who are proud autistic individuals absolutely killing it in their chosen fields.

Tony DeBlois – Pianist

This talented musician with Savant Syndrome is from Randolph, Massachusetts, and is blind, autistic, and gifted on many instruments. He started out on the piano at the tender age of two. While jazz is his area of expertise, DeBlois is versatile enough to perform in virtually any genre. He’s a musical prodigy who plays 20 instruments, performs in concert venues all around the world, and leads the band Goodnuf. The true story of Tony’s life served as the basis for the CBS Movie of the Week in 1997 titled “Journey of the Heart.”

Clay Marzo – Competitive surfer

Clay Marzo’s signature “double-jointed” technique of spins and turns has made him a household name. At an early age, he developed into a top-tier competition surfer, and his unique and inventive techniques on the board have won him accolades. Marzo was a part of the legendary surfing brand Quicksilver’s Young Guns group, and he was featured in two of their surf films. Marzo devotes a great deal of his time and energy to surfing and has been praised for his innate talent with the water.

Courtney Love – Musician/Actress

At age 9, the Hole singer and Kurt Cobain’s widow was given an autism diagnosis and labeled “mildly autistic” as a child. She was exceptionally bright, but she had a hard time communicating with others and had a lot of trouble in class. Over the last 25 years, Love has enjoyed success as a writer and actress in several movies.

Heather Kuzmich – Model

Heather Kuzmich, born in 1986, is a fashion model who rose to prominence after appearing on America’s Next Top Model. Kuzmich’s autism diagnosis was made public during her time on the show. Kuzmich admits that she has trouble talking to people and making small talk. Spectrum Magazine, a publication geared toward people on the autism spectrum and their families, has featured Kuzmich. A photoshoot featuring Kuzmich appeared in the July 2008 edition of Wedding Essentials.

Alexis Wineman – Miss America Contestant and America’s Choice Award Winner

Wineman was the first competitor with autism in the 93-year history of the Miss America pageant. She represented Montana as the youngest of 53 women competing for the 2013 Miss America crown in Las Vegas. Diagnosed at age 11, Alexis didn’t start walking until age 2 and talking until age 3. She placed in the top 15 at the Miss America pageant, but unfortunately did not win the crown. Despite this, she took home America’s Choice Award by garnering the most votes from viewers around the web. Since winning the pageant, Wineman has been advocating for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) awareness by speaking at events around the country and appearing in the documentary Autism in America, narrated by Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson.

Dan Harmon – TV show creator/writer (Community)

Dan Harmon, creator and writer of the NBC comedy series Community, has said that he became interested in autism while doing research for one of the show’s characters, Abed, and that he later realized that the traits he had been exhibiting were consistent with autism. He attributes his compulsive and ritualistic tendencies when creating for his show.

James Durbin – Musician and American Idol Competitor

At age 10, Durbin was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome and autism. Still, he utilized a hand-me-down guitar to develop an interest in music and eventually auditioned for American Idol in 2011, making it all the way to the final four. Even though he didn’t win, his career as a professional musician was launched after his appearances on several popular late-night television shows.