If you have an ostomy, you’re in good company! Here are some famous people you may be surprised have an ostomy:
Al Geiberger is a former professional golfer who won 11 tournaments on the PGA tour, one of them being the 1966 PGA Championship. In 1980, Al had his colon removed due to his Inflammatory Bowel Disease, incurring an ileostomy.
Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower
Dwight David Eisenhower was the Texas-born 34th president of the United States of America. He was a five-star general who led the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. He was also known for easing cold war tensions, launching the Space Race and creating the federal Interstate Highway System. While many people were aware of his health issues, not many people knew that “Ike” also had an ostomy.
In May 1956 – halfway through his eight year presidency – Eisenhower was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a disease that causes inflammation along the small and large intestines. In June 1956, his doctor performed a permanent ileotransverse colostomy to remove a bowel obstruction. Five days after surgery, he resumed conducting official business.
Jerry Kramer is a former American football player. He is best remembered for his 11 year career as an offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers. In 1964, 6 years into his career, Jerry underwent 9 intestinal surgeries, including formation of a colostomy. He fought for his position on the team and went on to play for another 5 years.
Marvin Bush is the youngest son of George H. W. Bush. In 1985, Marvin was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and dealt with the disease until 1986 when he was given an ostomy after life-saving surgery. Marvin tries to keep a low-profile, but uses his father’s name to benefit the National Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a military conqueror, world leader, and an ostomate. Emperor of France from 1804 to 1815, Napoleon is often pictured with his right hand in his shirt, a method he is rumored to have developed to conceal his goat bladder ostomy bag.
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 8 years.
Thomas P. O’Neill Junior (Tip O’Neill)
Tip O’Neill was an American politician, Ambassador to Ireland, and the second longest-serving Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in U.S. history. Tip held a seat in the House Rules Committee then rose to the role of Speaker of the House in 1977 until his retirement in 1987. In retirement, Tip developed colon cancer and eventually underwent a ostomy surgery. This motivated him to make several public service announcements with athletes and stars to promote awareness of colon cancer.
Babe was an extremely athletic woman. In 1932 she won two Olympic Gold Medals and one Olympic Silver Medal for Track and Field. She played basketball, but was always known for Track and Field. She began playing golf in 1935. Although she started the sport much later in life than others, she was successful. She played in 3 PGA tours.
While still playing golf, Babe was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in 1953. She underwent colostomy surgery, and made a comeback in 1954, winning the Vane Trophy. Her colon cancer recurred in 1955 and Babe passed away the next year at 45 years of age. She has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Women’s Golf and was named “10th Greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century” by ESPN.
Loretta Young was an American actress who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1948 for her role in The Farmer’s Daughter. She had her own show, The Loretta Young Show from 1953 – 1961, which she received 3 Emmy Awards for. 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.
Letitia was Jacqueline Kennedy’s social secretary and head of staff in the White House. She was also an American etiquette expert and public relations executive.
She was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in 1978 and had ostomy surgery. After recovering, she continued to be President of Letitia Baldrige Enterprises in New York, then went on to open Baldrige & Lewris in Washington DC, which is company that offered coaching in all things proper, portraying a good image, and manners. She passed away in 2012 at the age of 86.
Ann Sothern was a famous actress for 6 decades. Over her career she was in 64 movies and more than 175 TV episodes, including guest appearances with Lucille Ball on the Lucy Show. She was well known for her “Maisie” character. Ann suffered an injury while working on a stage production when a prop tree fell on her and fractured her spine and left her with nerve damage. She also contracted Hepatitis from an impure shot. Many years of treatment and surgeries followed these two accidents. It is confirmed she had an ostomy, although it is not documented when or why she had her ostomy surgery.
Nancy was a cabaret singer in New York in the 1990s. She preformed at the White House twice during the Clinton administration. Nancy was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when she was 17 and passed away in 1995 at age 43 from uterine cancer.