The Mighty Logo

6 Famous People Who Have Ostomies

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Having an ostomy isn’t the end of the world as some may think. In fact, it’s a new beginning. You can still do the same things you’ve done before, the only difference is that your “plumbing is rearranged.”

There are famous people who lived or still live with an ileostomy or colostomy due to Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, birth defect, an injury, colon cancer or other reasons. It can be permanent, when an organ has to be removed, or temporary, when the organ needs to heal.

Here are some famous people you may not know about who didn’t let a stoma get in the way of accomplishing their goals:

1. Marvin Bush

The youngest son of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush. He was diagnosed with UC when he was 28 years old and was worsening, even taking medication. In 1987 he had his entire colon removed due to losing weight and bleeding internally.

2.  Napoleon Bonaparte  

A military general who became the first emperor of France. He was also a military commander fighting in Italy. There was a rumor that the reason he had his hand in his coat was that he was holding a goat’s bladder as a rudimentary colostomy bag. The autopsy showed that he died from stomach cancer.

3. Barbara Barrie

An American actress of film, stage, and TV as well as an accomplished author. In 1994, she underwent a colostomy after receiving a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. She also wrote a memoir, “Second Act: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures,” about her experience.

4. Rolf Benirschke

A former American football player in the National Football League. At the age of 24, he was diagnosed with UC and required to have life-saving ileostomy surgery. He was able to return to playing football for seven more seasons.  He is the national spokesman for the CCFA.

5. Fred Astaire

An American singer, dancer, and actor who worked in music, vaudeville, TV, radio, comedy, and Hollywood musicals.  He received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1981 and awarded an honorary Academy Award for his contributions to film in 1950. He was a famous ostomate.

6. Al Geiberger

An American former professional golfer who won more than 10 times on the PGA Tour, including a major championship.  In 1980, he had surgery to remove his colon due to IBD and has an ileostomy.

“Anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles en route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.” –Chuck Norris

Image via Facebook.

Originally published: January 2, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home