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Famous People Who Had and Have Polio

  • Synopsis: Published: 2017-11-10 (Revised/Updated 2017-11-16) - Explanation of the disease Polio and resource list of famous people living and deceased who had polio in their lives. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

Main Document

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route.

In fewer than 1% of cases the virus enters the central nervous system, preferentially infecting and destroying motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis.

Spinal polio - The most common form of paralytic poliomyelitis; it results from viral invasion of the motor neurons of the anterior horn cells, or the ventral (front) gray matter section in the spinal column, which are responsible for movement of the muscles, including those of the trunk, limbs and the intercostal muscles.

Bulbar polio - Occurs when poliovirus invades and destroys nerves within the bulbar region of the brain stem. The bulbar region is a white matter pathway that connects the cerebral cortex to the brain stem. The destruction of these nerves weakens the muscles supplied by the cranial nerves, producing symptoms of encephalitis, and causes difficulty breathing, speaking and swallowing.

Bulbospinal polio - This subtype is also called respiratory polio. Here the virus affects the upper part of the cervical spinal cord (C3 through C5), and paralysis of the diaphragm occurs. The critical nerves affected are the phrenic nerve, which drives the diaphragm to inflate the lungs, and those that drive the muscles needed for swallowing.

Post-polio syndrome - Mainly characterized by new weakening in muscles that were previously affected by the polio infection and in muscles that seemingly were unaffected. Symptoms include slowly progressive muscle weakness, unaccustomed fatigue (both generalized and muscular), and, at times, muscle atrophy.

There is no cure for polio. The focus of modern treatment has been on providing relief of symptoms, speeding recovery and preventing complications. The polio vaccines developed by Jonas Salk in 1952 and Albert Sabin in 1962 are credited with reducing the annual number of polio cases from many hundreds of thousands to around a thousand.

Famous People Who Had and Have Polio

  • Alan Alda
  • Alan Toy
  • Ann Adams
  • Annette Kellerman
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Arthur Guyton
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Bhagwat Subramanya Chandrasekhar - Cricket Champion from India
  • Bill Cullen - (1920-1990) game show host
  • Brooks Stevens
  • Buddy Daley - Baseball All-Star (1959 and 1960)
  • Cathy Rigby's -
  • CeDell Davis - Jazz Guitarist
  • Charles E. Bennett - (1911-2003) longtime US Congressman, Florida
  • Christopher Templeton
  • Claudius
  • Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell
  • David Sanborn
  • Dennis Washington
  • Dick Cabela - outdoorsman and founder of "Cabela's"
  • Dinah Shore
  • Donald Sutherland
  • Dorothea Lange - (1895-1965): photographer
  • Ed Roberts - (1939-1995) Father of the Independent Living Movement
  • Edna Marie Moore - (1930-1989) Texas artist
  • Egbert Hamilton Walker - (1899-1991) Smithsonian Institute Botanist
  • Eileen Grubba
  • Eleanor Abbott - designed the game CandyLand
  • Elizabeth Twistington Higgins - (1923-1990): MBE, English ballet dancer and artist
  • Elmer L. Andersen - (1910-2005): former Minnesota Governor, businessman
  • Ethelda Blaibtrey - (1902-1978): olympic gold medalist for swimming
  • F.D. Roosevelt
  • Francis Ford Coppola - director
  • Frank Mars
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Georgia Coleman
  • Harold Brooks-Baker - (1933-2005): publisher
  • Henrietta Wyeth Hurd - (1907-1997): artist
  • Henry Holden - actor, comedian, athlete, activist
  • Hildegard Knef - (1925-2002): German actress, singer, writer
  • Horace Parlan - pianist
  • Hugh Gregory Gallagher - author and historian
  • Ian Dury
  • Ida Louise Anderson - (1900-1941): broadcast radio pioneer
  • Ida Lupino - (1917-1995): London-born actress, director, screenwriter
  • Itzhak Perlman - internationally acclaimed violinist
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer - (1904-1967): physicist and teacher
  • Jack Nicklaus
  • James DePriest - musician, composer, arranger and conductor
  • James Drury - actor, "The Virginian"
  • Jean Chretien - former Prime Minister of Canada
  • Jerome Solon Felder - (1925-1991): songwriter, Doc Pomus
  • Joey Rulli
  • John East - (1931-1986): US Senator
  • John Frederick Collins
  • John Hager - Lieutenant Governor, Virginia
  • John Laws
  • John Prestwich - MBE, longest respirator user (Guinness Book of World Records)
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Joseph (Joey) Velez - (1925-2002): Golden Gloves Boxer
  • Judith E. Heumann
  • Judy Collins
  • Julius (Julie) Bort - (1922-1996) boxer
  • Julius Robert Oppenheimer -
  • Justin Dart - activist
  • Katie Eastman -
  • Kerry Packer
  • Kim Beazley
  • Kurt Sipolski
  • Lauro Halstead - doctor.
  • Lionel Barrymore - (1878-1954): actor
  • Lis Hartel
  • Lois Catherine Marshall - (1924-1997): Canadian singer in the 50s and 60s
  • Lord Snowden - photographer, UK (Princess Margaret's former husband)
  • Margaret "Peg" Phillips - (1918-2002): actress (Ruth-Anne on "Northern Exposure")
  • Margarete Steiff - (1847-1909): German seamstress who founded Steiff Teddy Bears
  • Marion Davies
  • Marjorie Lawrence - world famous dramatic opera singer:
  • Martin Milner - actor
  • Mary Francis - (1924-2000)
  • Mel Ferrar - actor
  • Mia Farrow
  • Neil Young
  • Nyla Thompson - mouth artist
  • Oscar G. Heirlihy - Radio and TV Pioneer, Newfoundland
  • Owen Roizman - cinematographer, 5 Oscar nominations and Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Paul Martin
  • Paul Winchell
  • Peter Preston - British writer and Guardian editor, 1975 through 1995
  • Ray Ewry - (1873-1937) Track & Field Olympic Champion
  • Ray Peterson
  • Renata Ersilia Clotilde Tebaldi
  • Ruma - ancient Syrian
  • Shelley Mann
  • Siptah
  • Sir John Cotesworth Slessor
  • Sir Julian Critchley - (1930-2000): journalist, author and member of the House of Commons
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • Steve Harley
  • Tanaquil Le Clercq - (1929-2000): ballet dancer
  • Tenley Albright - doctor and olympic gold medalist for figure skating
  • Tony Gould
  • Victor Woodrow Wertz - (1925-1983): Baseball All-Star
  • Wah Ming Chang
  • Walter "Buddy" Davis - Broad Jump Olympic Champion, Basketball
  • Walter Jackson - (1938-1983) lead singer of the "Velvetones"
  • William Alexander Gadsby
  • William Orville Douglas
  • Wilma Rudolph

NOTE: If you know of a discrepancy in this list please contact us so we can amend the entry.

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