Around 10% of the world population is left handed, and although mundane tasks such as opening doors and using a computer mouse are slightly more difficult for the minority, every cloud has a silver lining as today is National Left Handers Day. Left handed people have been proven to have more of an aptitude for divergent thinking and as a result are more creative. The British Monarchy has a surprising number of left handed members, including The Queen and Prince William. To celebrate the occasion, we present our top 10 left handers, from computer geniuses to musical icons.
1. Judy Garland
Best known for her starring role as the sweet and innocent Dorothy in the classic film The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was one of the most celebrated actresses of the Hollywood Golden Era. She appeared in over 30 films and musicals throughout her career, but suffered a turbulent personal life, battling drug and alcohol addiction alongside numerous marriages and affairs. Garland's trademark velvet toned voice was her finest quality and she continued to sing until she tragically died of an overdose in 1967 aged just 47.
2. Jean Paul Gaultier
Famous for his outlandish creations, Jean Paul Gaultier has been known as the 'enfant terrible' of the fashion industry since the release of his debut solo collection in 1976. French born Gaultier began his illustrious career without any formal training, simply sending his sketches to couture stylists he admired. Pierre Cardin was the first to notice his undeniable talent and hired him as an assistant in 1970, and Jean Paul went on the be one of the most extravagant and creative designers in the business, creating iconic pieces such as Madonna's cone bra and 'man-skirts'.
3. Barack Obama
The 44th, and first black President of the United States of America, Barack Obama is perhaps the most inspiring and influential President in American history. In the years following his 2009 inauguration, Hawaiian born Obama has instilled a public health service into America, lovingly referred to as Obamacare, as well as being the first President to publicly support same-sex marriage.
4. Bill Gates
Something of a child genius, the co-founder, chairman and former CEO of Microsoft created his first computer program when he was just 13-years-old, designing an on screen game of noughts and crosses. He went on to build Microsoft and Windows, which is the most used computer operating system in the world. This year, Gates was named the richest man in the world by Bloomberg Billionaires List, his estimated fortune currently residing at $72.7billion.
5. Kurt Cobain
Lead singer of Nirvana and 90s grunge icon Kurt Cobain was known for playing his legendary guitar left handed. Cobain shied away from the fame that came hand in hand with Nirvana’s success, retreating into a world of depression and drugs. In 1994 he committed suicide – making him a member of the infamous 27 club – leaving only a handwritten note for his wife Courtney Love, and their daughter Frances Bean Cobain. His explanation within the letter quoted Neil Young’s Into The Black, stating ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away’.
6. Goldie Hawn
Blonde bombshell, 60s icon and celebrated actress, Goldie Hawn has starred in multiple films throughout her career, including the 90s hits Death Becomes Her and The First Wives Club. A self described Jewish Buddhist she created The Hawn Foundation, an organisation that teaches children the Buddhist technique of mindfulness, in order to help them live more positive and optimistic lives.
7. Cary Grant
Born Archibald Alexander Leach in Bristol, the dashing actor stole hearts worldwide starring in films such as Bringing up Baby alongside Katherine Hepburn, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. Although starting out as a novelty stilt walker in a British travelling act, Grant became one of the most revered actors of the classic Hollywood era and was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time – after Humphrey Bogart – by the American Film Institute.
8. Spike Lee
Since 1983 Spike Lee has produced over 35 films, exploring poverty, race issues and politics as well as television adverts for Converse, Nike, Jaguar and Ben & Jerry's. Rarely seen without his trademark thick rimmed glasses and baseball hat, he is often criticised for being controversial, and is currently attempting to raise money for his latest project through an online fundraising website.
9. David Bowie
Throughout the 70s and 80s David Bowie took the music world by storm, pushing the boundaries of music genres and stereotypes with his performances as his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust and ever changing musical stylings. He is considered a pioneer and will go down in musical history as one of the most inventive musicians to ever grace the stage, as well as being an actor and musical arranger. Bowie has recently released a new album, entitled The Next Day.
10. Jimi Hendrix
Without a doubt, Jimi Hendrix was one of the most influential rock & roll musicians of the 20th century. He was named Rolling Stone's Greatest Guitarist of All Time, despite having a short lived music career of four years. Another member of the 27 club, Hendrix died long before his time. He had taken drugs throughout his career and ultimately died tragically, choking on his own vomit after taking a toxic concoction of alcohol and barbituates.
Text by Rhiannon Wastell