Right, Left, Right, Wrong! An investigation of handedness - some myths, truths, opinions and research

What is Handedness?
Measuring Handedness
Handedness Statistics
Handedness and the Brain
Theories of Handedness ‣
Other Handedness Issues ‣
History of Handedness ‣
Famous Left-Handers ‣
A Few Final Thoughts
E-mail: lukem@lukemastin.com
Web-site designed by: Luke Mastin
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List of Famous Left-Handers
This list does not attempt to be comprehensive or definitive, merely indicative and illustrative. Any such list is necessarily a product of the editor’s personal choice, and I have explained some of my considerations, inclusions and exclusions on the Famous Left-Handers page, as well as on specific subject pages such as Handedness and Music, Handedness and Artistic Ability, Handedness and Intellect, Handedness and Military Leadership, Handedness and Sport, Handedness and Politics, etc.

Where I have included people of dubious or partial left-handedness in the list, I have tried to give some explanation in the Notes column (as much as anything to show that such categorization is rarely simple, but also to indicate that this list probably gives an exaggerated picture of the extent of left-handedness in the public sphere).

Even the categorization of occupation and country has been necessarily simplified (in the interests of keeping down the number of different categories), and is no doubt also open to criticism and debate.

But here, for what it is worth, is my own list. It is presented in alphabetical order by Name by default, but you can click on the headings to re-order the list by Country, Occupation or Date. Click the heading again to change from ascending to descending. The links are to the Wikipedia entries for the individual.

Name Country Occupation Dates Notes
Abbas, Mahmoud Palestine Politician 1935-
Adams, Douglas UK Writer 1952-2001
Akram, Wasim (cricket) Pakistan Sport 1966-
Albarn, Damon UK Musician 1968- Plays guitar right-handed
Aldrin, Buzz (astronaut) USA Other 1930- Writes right-handed
Alexander the Great Macedonia Leader/Military ...356BC-323BC Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Allman, Duane USA Musician 1946-1971 Plays guitar right-handed
Allman, Gregg USA Musician 1947- Plays guitar right-handed
Aristotle Greece Other ....384BC-322BC Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Aykroyd, Dan Canada Film, TV & Stage 1952-
Bachchan, Abhishek India Film, TV & Stage 1976-
Bachchan, Amitabh India Film, TV & Stage 1942-
Baden-Powell, Robert UK Other 1857-1941 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Baron Cohen, Sacha UK Film, TV & Stage 1971-
Barrymore, Drew USA Film, TV & Stage 1975-
Basinger, Kim USA Film, TV & Stage 1953-
Berra, Yogi (baseball) USA Sport 1925-2015 Batted left, threw right
Bin Laden, Osama Saudi Arabia Leader/Military 1957-2011 Wrote with right hand
Bird, Larry (basketball) USA Sport 1956-
Blackmore, Ritchie UK Musician 1945- Plays guitar right-handed
Bloomberg, Michael USA Politician 1942-
Boggs, Wade (baseball) USA Sport 1958- Bats left, throws right
Bonaparte, Napoleon France Leader/Military 1769-1821 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Bonds, Barry (baseball) USA Sport 1964- Writes right-handed
Border, Alan (cricket) Australia Sport 1955- Bats and bowls left-handed
Bowie, David UK Musician 1947-2016
Branagh, Kenneth UK Film, TV & Stage 1960- Writes right-handed
Broderick, Matthew USA Film, TV & Stage 1962-
Bruce, Lenny USA Film, TV & Stage 1925-1966
Bryson, Bill USA Writer 1951-
Buonarroti, Michelangelo Italy Artist 1475-1564 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Bush, George H.W. USA Politician 1924-
Byrne, David UK Musician 1952- Plays guitar right-handed
Caesar, Julius Rome Leader/Military ..|100BC-44BC Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Callaghan, James UK Politician 1912-2005
Cameron, James Canada Film, TV & Stage 1954-
Carlyle, Thomas UK Writer 1795-1881 Switched to left after injury
Chaplin, Charlie UK Film, TV & Stage 1889-1997 Wrote right-handed
Charest, Jean Canada Politician 1958-
Charlemagne France Leader/Military .|742-814 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Chávez, Hugo Venezuela Politician 1954-2013
Clinton, Bill USA Politician 1946-
Close, Brian (cricket) UK Sport 1931-2015 Bats left, bowls right
Cobain, Kurt USA Musician 1967-1994 Played guitar left-handed, but otherwise right-handed
Cobb, Ty (baseball) USA Sport 1886-1961 Batted left, threw right
Cockburn, Bruce Canada Musician 1945- Plays guitar right-handed
Collins, Phil UK Musician 1951-
Commodus, Emperor Rome Leader/Military .|161-192
Compton, Denis (cricket) UK Sport 1918-1997 Batted right, bowled left
Connors, Jimmy (tennis) USA Sport 1952-
Cooper, Henry (boxing) UK Sport 1934-2011 Used right-handed stance
Corbett, “Gentleman Jim” (boxing) USA Sport 1866-1933
Corgan, Billy USA Musician 1967- Plays guitar right-handed
Costello, Elvis UK Musician 1954- Plays guitar right-handed
Cruise, Tom USA Film, TV & Stage 1962- Writes and throws with right hand
Curie, Marie Poland Scientist 1867-1934 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
De Klerk, F.W. South Africa Politician 1936-
De La Hoya, Oscar (boxing) USA Sport 1973- Boxes “orthodox”, but left-handed
DeSalvo, Albert (Boston Strangler) USA Other 1931-1973
Dillon, Matt USA Film, TV & Stage 1964-
Dole, Bob USA Politician 1923- Switched to left due to injury
Dufy, Raoul France Artist 1877-1953 Wrote with right hand
Dürer, Albrecht Germany Artist 1471-1528 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Edward III, King UK Royalty 1312-1377 Switched to left after a stroke
Ehud Israel Other ....1300BC
Elizabeth, The Queen Mother UK Royalty 1900-2002
Eminem USA Musician 1972-
Escher, M.C. Netherlands Artist 1898-1972
Everly, Don USA Musician 1937- Plays guitar right-handed
Fey, Tina USA Film, TV & Stage 1970-
Fields, W.C. USA Film, TV & Stage 1880-1946
Fishburne, Laurence USA Film, TV & Stage 1961-
Fonda, Peter USA Film, TV & Stage 1940-
Ford, Henry USA Businessman 1863-1947 Debatable/unlikely
Ford, Gerald USA Politician 1913-2006
Foster, Norman UK Artist 1935- Writes with left hand
Freeman, Morgan USA Film, TV & Stage 1937-
Fripp, Robert UK Musician 1946- Plays guitar right-handed
Gallagher, Noel UK Musician 1967- Plays guitar right-handed
Gandhi, Mohandas (“Mahatma”) India Politician 1869-1948 Wrote with both hands
Garfield, James A. USA Politician 1831-1881 Wrote with both hands
Garland, Judy USA Film, TV & Stage 1922-1969
Gates, Bill USA Businessman 1955- Writes with left, but otherwise right-handed
Gaultier, Jean Paul (fashionista) France Other 1952-
Gehrig, Lou (baseball) USA Sport 1903-1941 Wrote right-handed
Geldof, Bob Ireland Musician 1951-
Genet, Jean France Writer 1910-1986
George VI, King UK Royalty 1895-1952 Forced to write with right hand
Goldberg, Whoopi USA Film, TV & Stage 1955-
Gould, Glenn Canada Musician 1932-1982
Gower, David (cricket) UK Sport 1957- Bats left, bowls right
Grant, Cary USA Film, TV & Stage 1904-1986
Griffey Jr., Ken (baseball) USA Sport 1969- Writes right-handed
Groening, Matt USA Film, TV & Stage 1954-
Hagler, Marvin (boxing) USA Sport 1954- Boxes left, but right-handed
Hawn, Goldie USA Film, TV & Stage 1945-
Hendrix, Jimi USA Musician 1942-1970 Wrote and ate with right hand
Henson, Jim USA Film, TV & Stage 1936-1990 Wrote with right hand
Holbein, Hans (the Younger) Germany Artist 1497-1543
Hoover, Herbert USA Politician 1874-1964 Wrote with right hand
Hudson, Rock USA Film, TV & Stage 1925-1985
Ivanisevic, Goran (tennis) Croatia Sport 1971-
Jackman, Hugh Australia Film, TV & Stage 1968-
Jack the Ripper UK Other 1880s-
Joan of Arc France Leader/Military 1412-1431 Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Jobs, Steve USA Businessman 1955-2011 Debatable/claimed ambidexterity
Johansson, Scarlett USA Film, TV & Stage 1984-
Johnson, Randy (baseball) USA Sport 1963- Batted right, threw left
Jolie, Angelina USA Film, TV & Stage 1975-
Keller, Helen USA Other 1880-1968
Kidman, Nicole Australia Film, TV & Stage 1967-
King, Albert USA Musician 1923-1992 Played guitar right-handed
King, B.B. USA Musician 1925-2015 Plays guitar right-handed
Klee, Paul Switzerland Artist 1879-1940 Wrote with his right hand
Knopfler, Mark USA Musician 1949- Plays guitar right-handed
Lara, Brian (cricket) Trinidad Sport 1969- Bats left, bowls right
Laver, Rod (tennis) Australia Sport 1938-
Leconte, Henri (tennis) France Sport 1963-
Lee, Spike USA Film, TV & Stage 1957-
Lee, Stan USA Artist 1922-
Lennox, Annie UK Musician 1954-
Leno, Jay USA Film, TV & Stage 1950-
Lovell, Jim (astronaut) USA Other 1928-
Lowe, Nick UK Musician 1949- Plays guitar right-handed
Lydon, John (Johnny Rotten) UK Musician 1956-
Maradona, Diego (soccer) Argentina Sport 1956- Left-footed but right-handed
Marsalis, Wynton USA Musician 1961-
Marx, Harpo USA Film, TV & Stage 1888-1964 Wrote right-handed
McCain, John USA Politician 1936-2018
McCartney, Paul UK Musician 1942-
McEnroe, John (tennis) USA Sport 1959-
McQueen, Steve USA Film, TV & Stage 1930-1980 Debatable/unlikely
Messi, Lionel Argentina Sport 1987- Left-footed but right-handed
Michael, George UK Musician 1963-
Mickelson, Phil (golf) USA Sport 1970- Right-handed apart from golf
Moore, Demi USA Film, TV & Stage 1962-
Moore, Julianne USA Film, TV & Stage 1960-
Morse, Steve USA Musician 1954- Plays guitar right-handed
Nadal, Rafael (tennis) Spain Sport 1986- Right-handed apart from tennis
Navratilova, Martina (tennis) Czech/USA Sport 1956- Writes with her right hand
Nelson, Horatio Lord UK Leader/Military 1758-1805 Switched after an accident to right
Netanyahu, Benjamin Israel Politician 1949-
Obama, Barack USA Politician 1961-
Olsen, Mary-Kate & Ashley USA Film, TV & Stage 1986-
O'Neal, Ryan USA Film, TV & Stage 1941-
Orr, Bobby (ice hockey) Canada Sport 1948-
Paquiao, Manny (boxing) Philippines Sport 1978- Boxes left, but right-handed
Palmer, Arnold (golf) USA Sport 1929- Plays golf right-handed
Parker, Sarah Jessica USA Film, TV & Stage 1965-
Pavlov, Ivan Russia Scientist 1849-1936 Taught himself to be ambidextrous
Perot, Ross USA Businessman 1930-
Pitt, Brad USA Film, TV & Stage 1963- Writes with right-hand
Pop, Iggy USA Musician 1947-
Porter, Cole USA Musician 1891-1964
Pryor, Richard USA Film, TV & Stage 1940-2005
Puskás, Ferenc Hungary Sport 1927-2006 Left-footed but right-handed
Ramses II Egypt Leader/Military ....1303BC-1213BC Debatable/unlikely (see here)
Reagan, Ronald USA Politician 1911-2004 Switched to right (ambidextrous?)
Redford, Robert USA Film, TV & Stage 1936- Writes with his right hand
Reeves, Keanu Canada Film, TV & Stage 1964- Plays guitar right-handed
Roberts, Julia USA Film, TV & Stage 1967-
Rockefeller, John D. USA Businessman 1839-1937 Forced to write with his right hand
Rockefeller, Nelson USA Politician 1908-1979 Forced to write with his right hand
Ruth, “Babe” (baseball) USA Sport 1895-1948 Wrote with his right hand
Schumann, Robert Germany Musician 1810-1856 Injured his right hand
Schwarzkopf, Norman USA Leader/Military 1934-2012
Scott, Ridley UK Film, TV & Stage 1937-
Searle, Ronald UK Artist 1920-2011
Seinfeld, Jerry USA Film, TV & Stage 1954-
Seles, Monika (tennis) Serbia Sport 1973-
Senna, Ayrton (motor racing) Brazil Sport 1960-1994
Simon, Paul USA Musician 1941- Plays guitar right-handed
Sobers, Garfield (cricket) Barbados Sport 1936-
Spitz, Mark (swimming) USA Sport 1950-
Starr, Ringo UK Musician 1940- Drums and writes right-handed
Stipe, Michael USA Musician 1960-
Stoppard, Tom UK Writer 1937-
Tesla, Nikola Serbia/USA Scientist 1856-1943 Taught himself to be ambidextrous
Thompson, Emma UK Film, TV & Stage 1959-
Tiberius, Emperor Rome Leader/Military ..||42BC-37AD
Truman, Harry S. USA Politician 1884-1972 Wrote with right hand
Twain, Mark USA Writer 1835-1910 Wrote with left due to rheumatism
Underwood, Derek (cricket) UK Sport 1945- Batted right, bowled left
Victoria, Queen UK Royalty 1819-1901 Wrote with right hand
Vinci, Leonardo da Italy Artist 1452-1519 Possibly due to injury
Watson, James D. USA Scientist 1928-
Weir, Mike (golf) Canada Sport 1970- Right-handed apart from golf
White, Jimmy (snooker) UK Sport 1962-
William, Prince UK Royalty 1982- Bats and bowls right-handed at cricket
Williams, Ted (baseball) USA Sport 1918-2002 Batted left, threw right
Willis, Bruce USA Film, TV & Stage 1955-
Winfrey, Oprah USA Film, TV & Stage 1954-
Young, Steve (football) USA Sport 1961-

Back to Top of Page
Introduction | What is Handedness? | Measuring Handedness | Handedness Statistics | Handedness and the Brain | Theories of Handedness | Other Handedness Issues | History of Handedness | Famous Left-Handers | A Few Final Thoughts | Sources
© 2012 Luke Mastin