Famous People with Tremor

Do you know someone with Essential Tremor?

Yes! Essential tremor is so common yet non-transparent. Outside of individuals and families afflicted with essential tremor, the public at large is not familiar with the movement disorder or, misjudges the symptom of tremor as being Parkinson’s.

You probably know a neighbor, a co-worker, a service club or faith member, who has essential tremor. If not, you know of the following famous people and otter with essential tremor.

Famous People with Tremor
John Adams

John Quincy Adams

Samuel Adams

Magnus Berg

Robert C. Byrd

Oliver Cromwell

John Diefenbaker


Katharine Hepburn

King Louis XV

General Douglas MacArthur

Joseph McCarthy

Sandra Day O’Connor

Eugene O’Neill

Ozzy Ozbourne

Tim Simpson

Bill Werbeniuk

Illnesses of John Quincy Adams
In the biography John Quincy Adams by Lynn H. Parsons, it is noted that John Quincy Adams “developed a slight tremor in his right hand, sometimes requiring a brace to steady it while he wrote.”

Further information on John Quincy Adams and his father John Adams tremors can be found in two books, John Adams by Paul C. Nagel, and Arguing about Slavery, by William Lee Miller.

Neuroscience for Kids provides trivia on “John Adams, 2nd President of the US, and John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the US. were born in Braintree, Massachusetts.”

Samuel Adams Tremor
Medical history draws upon handwriting analysis and historical accounts to reveal that John Quincy Adams and Samuel Adams were afflicted with essential tremor. In the article Samuel Adams’ Tremor, Dr. Elan Louis, TAN’s medical advisor and contributor, cites the American Revolutionist as “having a tremor that affected his hands, head and voice.”

Magnus Berg – The Sculptor
Handwriting analysis and examinations of various sculptures account for the recognition that the sculptor Magnus Berg had essential tremor.

Diefenbaker Disease
Dr. Ali Rajput’s extensive research of medical records and Diefenbaker Archives concludes that the 13th Prime Minister of Canada suffered from essential tremor and not Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Rajput renamed essential tremor Diefenbaker Disease, in honor of the Prime Minister.

Late-Life Action Tremor in Goldie
Goldie the Southern Sea Otter was orphaned off the California coast at the age of 5 weeks. The Monterey Bay Aquarium rescued her, and Goldie lived at the Aquarium until the age of 18.

Five years prior, Goldie developed a head tremor, similar to essential tremor patients. Dr. Michael Murray, Goldie’s veterinarian, recorded invaluable information on Goldie’s tremor, which peaked the interest of TAN’s medical contributor, Elan Louis.

TAN’s Director, Dr. Hokuto Morita, has detailed Dr. Louis’ collaborative study of Goldie’s brain in his article, Animal Tremor: Of Mice and Men and Marine Life, featured in the first issue of The TremorAction.org and Care4Dystonia.org newsletter, Spikes & Spasms.

General Douglas MacArthur
TAN’s Director of Education, Andrea Gardner, RN, with permission from Lauren Bowen, MD, and Michael Okun, MD, presented the full text of Did General Douglas MacArthur have Parkinson disease? to former Congressman Patrick Kennedy at the 2011 One Mind for Research Smposium in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Okun and Dr. Bowen of the UF Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration, received the 2011 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Lawrence C. McHenry Award for their research in the history of neurology.

Eugene O’Neil
Most likely Eugene O’Neill suffered from essential tremor. The symptoms noted by Dr. Chudler are more consistent with ET.

Katharine Hepburn was an Honorary Board Member of the Eugene O’Neil Foundation. In 1992 Ms. Hepburn wrote a letter to Gumps,, the San Francisco home furnishings store, requesting that the Chinese opium couch used by Mr. O’Neil as a bed be returned to his Northern California residence, Tao House.

Scroll to Top