5 Famous Persons Who’ve Had Ostomy

Crohn's Disease Ostomy Ulcerative Colitis

Asian girl looking out the window alone

Many people living with a stoma find themselves feeling isolated as a result of their condition. Stomas are often placed within the bracket of “hidden illnesses”, referring to conditions that are not immediately obvious to other people, but nevertheless have a real impact on the individual’s life – physically and psychologically. [1]

But hey, if you’ve had an ostomy, know this fact: You are not the only one!

In fact, many famous personalities experienced life with a stoma too!

Famous People Who’ve Had Ostomy

Looking back through history reveals that many famous people have lived with stomas at various points in their lives. [2, 3]

1. Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Dwight Eisenhower, America's 34th president. Smiling in the picture with folded arms, with the American flag in the background.

    The 5-star general and 34th President of the United States of America was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease mid-way through his 8-year presidency. He received an ileotransverse colostomy in June 1956, 5 days later he returned to work. Talk about commitment to the people!

    2. Rolf Benirschke

      Rolf Benirschke playing football in the field.

      Rolf Benirschke is a former NFL placekicker. Shortly after joining the San Diego Chargers, Rolf’s battle with Ulcerative Colitis took a turn for the worse and the doctors ultimately removed his colon. Waking up with two ostomies, Rolf went on to adjust to life as an ostomate and continued to kick for the Chargers for eight years!

      3. Fred Astaire

        Fred Astaire dancing with a big smile on his face. Picture in black and white.

        That’s right, the legendary Hollywood dancer, singer and actor is a well-known ostomate! Inspirational to know that having a stoma need not stand in the way of doing the things you love!

        4. Loretta Young

          Loretta Young smiling beautifully. Picture in black and white.

          An American actress who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1948 for her role in The Farmer’s Daughter, Loretta also had her own show, The Loretta Young Show from 1953 – 1961, for which she received three Emmy Awards. In 1986 she won a Golden Globe for “Christmas Eve.” It is confirmed she had an ostomy, although it is not documented when she had her ostomy surgery.

          5. Napoleon Bonaparte

            A painting portrait of Napoleon, in his signature pose - one hand in pocket.

            The notable French military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution is rumoured to have had a stoma. In fact, in many depictions of him, he can be seen to be holding his right hand over his abdomen, believed to be a way of concealing his goat bladder ostomy bag!

            We hope you’ve been encouraged and inspired after reading this article. Share this with a fellow ostomate to encourage them!

            Ostomy and stoma care products available at SM Health Care Sdn Bhd.


            ALCARE Stoma & Wound Care products, available at SM Health Care Sdn Bhd - the sole distributor in Malaysia. Range of ostomy and stoma care products displayed against green background.


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