Friday requiem: the 45 most famous people with disabilities (according to Wikipedia…)

"Stephen Hawking.StarChild" by NASA - Original. Source (StarChild Learning Center). Directory listing.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“Stephen Hawking.StarChild” by NASA – Original. Source. . Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Quick note for readers.  I think it’s important that I consider my back catalogue of posts to be part of the site and that they get maintained, looked after and followed up on.  So each Friday I’ll be picking a post I did from that week last year, and see if my opinions have changed, or find out how the story develops.

Last year.  In this post. I wrote this:

So I was perusing The World’s Most Famous Disabled People, and I found myself wondering if one could do this in a more quantifiable way. Without futher ado, here are the World’s famous people with disabilities, as worked out by counting the page views on all Wikipedia articles that are both biographies and disability related.


This is the first iteration of this article, I’m going to come back and iterate it in a couple of weeks, sort out the links, and maybe add some wikicommons pictures – I think it will be interesting to maintain and it’s also interesting to distinguish between ‘people whose fame is tied to a disability’ and ‘people who are famously disabled’ and finally ‘people whose disability isn’t in the first five facts you know about them’.

Today I’m updating the list for 2014, and also extending it from 20 to 45.  The original post was half to inform people about the relative popularity of various people from a range of walks of life (there aren’t many fame lists that manage to avoid movie stars in the top ten…)

The other half of the intent of the original post was to encourage people into perhaps taking a punt at some wikipedia work by showing some of the odder results – Batgirl is in the top ten for example and we are missing a few obvious ones simply because the Disability Wikiproject hasn’t taken ownership with of them.   The purpose of this update is to show that, basically, little has changed…  If any of my readers (who are a pretty disability savy bunch) have toyed with the idea of playing with wikipedia this might be the article that puts you over the edge…

So *drum-roll*…. the updated list:

Rank Article Page views per day
1 Stephen Hawking 29,470
2 Frida Kahlo 2516
3 Oscar Pistorius 2335
4 Nick Vujicic 1576
5 Joseph Merrick 1543
6 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1230
7 Barbara Gordon 966
8 Rudolf Steiner 718
9 Aimee Mullins 608
10 Rick Allen (drummer) 607
11 Alex Brooker 604
12 Spinocerebellar ataxia 599
13 Ian Dury 471
14 Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon 451
15 Wilma Rudolph 424
16 Toph Beifong 423
17 Gene Vincent 404
18 Jacqueline du Pré 385
19 Louis Braille 376
20 Douglas Bader 354
21 Chuck Close 342
22 Tanaquil LeClercq 323
23 Winter (dolphin) 289
24 Stephen Wiltshire 260
25 Daisy and Violet Hilton 260
26 Alex Zanardi 223
27 HAL (robot) 197
28 Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman 183
29 Joni Eareckson Tada 176
30 Clive Burr 175
31 Gregory D. Gadson 167
32 Alison Lapper 156
33 Martyn Ashton 156
34 Angela Rockwood 141
35 Natalie du Toit 117
36 Chen Guangcheng 116
37 Hirotada Ototake 115
38 Hannah Cockroft 110
39 Rajinder Singh Rahelu 106
40 Aaron Fotheringham 99
41 Rosemary Sutcliff 94
42 Brian Rix 91
43 Cerrie Burnell 91
44 Jessica Cox 86
45 David Weir (athlete) 84

There are some obvious things to point out – Hawking is so far ahead of everyone else that it beggars belief… There is more than one fictional character and there is also a Dolpin.  Several of the people are in no way famous because of their disability – some of them are such minor disabilities that its suprising that they aren’t on the list.  We’re also still missing such ones as Roosevelt, Lord Nelson, and Ludwig van Beethoven, all of whom might reasonably be expected to turn up


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