The Quick 10: 10 Famous Color Blind People

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You know that scene in Little Miss Sunshine when Dwayne finds out he's color blind and can't achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a jet pilot? That may have had some real-life inspiration (see #3 below). Here are 10 famous people who suffered from the same problem as Dwayne.

fred1. Mr. Rogers was totally red-green color blind and couldn't distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup. He asked a colleague to taste his soup one day and tell him what flavor he had gotten. Knowing that he liked both, she asked why he didn't just tuck in. "If it's tomato soup, I'll put sugar in it," he said.
2. Samuel Clemens. At least, that's the word on the street "“ I couldn't find a good story to back it up.

3. Paul Newman wanted to be a pilot for the Navy. It was during the flight physical that he discovered he was color blind. Instead, Newman trained to be a radioman and a gunner and, obviously, eventually went on to become an actor.

4. Meat Loaf, on the other hand, tried to fail his Army physical by listing his numerous ailments: he was color blind, 68 pounds overweight, had a trick shoulder and was prone to concussions. He was drafted anyway.

5. Jack Nicklaus. As Sports Illustrated puts it, dude "couldn't tell you a green number from a red on a leader board if the winner's check depended on it."

BING6. Bing Crosby. Bing's loud clothing was fodder for many jokes back in the day "“ Bob Hope especially relished zinging Der Bingle for his bad taste. But it's no wonder that Bing picked out such tacky pieces "“ he was, quite literally, color blind. "He will think something is a beautiful blue," his wife once explained, "and it will turn out to be a bilious green."
7. Matt Lauer has a mild case of color-blindness, but that hasn't stopped him from being named best-dressed man on several lists, including Vanity Fair's.

8. Howie Mandel is color blind, which probably doesn't really hinder him in his job on Deal or No Deal. But back in the day when he was selling carpet, it could be a problem. "There were a lot of ugly homes in Toronto because of me," he said in an interview.

9. Emerson Moser. OK, he's not famous, but I felt his story was worth telling. Moser was Crayola's senior-most crayon maker: after 37 years of employment he had molded more than 1.4 billion crayons. It wasn't until he retired that he revealed a secret: his blue-green color blindness meant that he couldn't see all of the colors he was making.

10. Hugh Downs is also in the color blind club. His wife helped him with clothing choices by number-coding things - one group of items that went together would all have "1" on them; another group would be clustered by "2"s and so on.

Do you know of any others? Or are you color blind? If so, do you get sick of people asking "What color is this?" all of the time? Let us know about your experiences in the comments!

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November 9, 2009 - 11:51am
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