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Famous Southpaws! (well the ones I like anyway)

October 18, 2010

In 3rd grade the penmanship champ was girl named Melissa K – called such because she was one of three Melissas in my class – who was left handed. I was probably ranked in the top ten, but I wasn’t the best. Melissa K’s print looked like Verdana and her cursive was equally as impressive. Her letters were well spaced and perfectly formed, as frequently imparted to us by our teacher. Melissa K was left-handed. The something happened! One Tuesday morning Melissa K appeared in class with her left arm in a cast! And just like that, her penmenship took a nosedive until her arm healed – don’t know how she broke it, but no foul play was assumed. At the time I was still going back and forth between my hands (though the left hand stuffs was often in secret) and I decided then I needed to be able to write with both hands so I wouldn’t see my own penmanship suffer the same fate if I should ever break my right arm. I never broke my arm, but I did manage to accomplish my task. And for the most part, I’m still right-handed (teachers used to discourage left-handedness) but I form my letters “backwards” from right to left, which I’m told is something savvy left handers do in order to avoid smearing their writing.

Bruce Willis – I first noticed Willis’ handedness in Die Hard. There was a scene where Willis crawled through an air shaft while mocking his wife’s gesture of good will, “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together and have a few laughs…” and I noticed that Willis wore his watch on his right hand and flicked the lighter he used to illuminate the air shaft with his left hand. In several films I’ve also noticed that Willis usually hold weapons in his left hand. He also writes hook style. I noticed that in Bonfire of the Vanities where Willis played ambitious reporter Peter Fallow. Lulz. I once made a zine called, “Bruce Willis is a Left Handed Republican”.

Morgan Freemanis an oft mentioned left handed individual so there was a lot of conversation about his hand when he was severely injured in a car accident two years ago. The actor reportedly still has limited mobility in his left hand. No word on the Carolina blue Cap’n Crunch suit in Red.

Angelina Jolie – is curious left handed person. In some films I’ve observed her wearing watches on her left hand. I usually figure costuming and such have handedness assumptions, which are then imposed on Ms. Jolie. I say this because whenever she’s out and about and photographed wearing a watch, it’s nearly always on her right hand. She’s very Jason Bateman that way. (Also a south paw!)

Ironically, results are inclusive regarding the man who actually made the term “Southpaw” a household phrase – Sylvester Stallone. Hedging my bets, I would say that Stallone is one of the rare truly ambidextrous folks, but that’s just a guess. Last time I watched Rocky II – IV I still didn’t feel I had a definitive answer.

Other Famous South Paws: Jason Bateman, Hugh Jackman, Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton, Nicole Kidman, David Bowie, SJP, Seal, Celine Dion (<3 <3), James "J-Cam" Cameron, Paul "P-Mac" McCartney, Whoopi, Keanu, Oprah, and DeNiro. Now that one fascinates me, because it completely slipped past me. I watch a lot of Deniro movies and I never noticed his handedness. Brad Pitt is another oft mentioned left handed person, but I’ve never noticed one way or the other. I should do some research!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    October 18, 2010 9:34 am

    I never noticed Deniro was left-handed either! Good on him! Do you believe that stuff about southpaws being more creative?

  2. October 18, 2010 9:50 am

    I don’t know. They are definitely more rare and I suppose they do have to be more creative, given the nearly every tool made is designed for right handed folks. I remember seeing the four left handed people in my intro to Soc class fighting over the TWO left handed desks in our lecture hall. It was so annoying. 15% of the desks should have been designed for left handed individuals. I also notice a lot of the really great office supplies I receive from companies are designed with south paws in mind! It’s really cool. Rhodia being the best for paper and Post It Flag pens being really amazing for writing.

  3. October 18, 2010 10:04 am

    I started to teach myself to type ambidextrously in middle school for similar reasons — someone broke their arm and I was so horrified at the prospect of being unable to write. Unfortunately I didn’t keep it up, so my skills are lacking. When mouses first showed up on the scene, I always was using it on the left-side, too, but then every computer lab always had it set up awkwardly for that, so I taught myself right-hand mousing. It is definitely a terrible world for left-handers in that sense! Too bad the Leftorium doesn’t exist in real life.

  4. October 18, 2010 10:31 am

    That’s quite a list of lefties! I always felt bad for left-handed people especially in college, when like you said, most of the desks are for right-handed people. It made me feel guilty to be so oddly privileged.

    As I kid I dreamed of being ambidextrous after watching a cartoon character (can’t remember which one) writing merrily in two books at the same time, like he was having the time of his life.

    I didn’t think it was possible to really write with both hands, let alone draw. But thanks to YouTube…

  5. October 18, 2010 11:39 am

    That’s quite a list of lefties! I always felt bad for left-handed people especially in college, when like you said, most of the desks are for right-handed people. It made me feel guilty to be so oddly privileged.

    That video is soooo cool. It’s so frustrating to find quality tools. I notice this a lot whenever I’m in Home Depot. So many of these really dangerous tools are designed solely with right handed individuals in mind and anything that can be safety used by south paws or specifically designed for them include quite the markup.

  6. October 18, 2010 11:56 am

    Joan Jett is left handed, but plays guitar right handed. Brett Hull is left handed, but a right hand shot in hockey. I would guess there are a number of lefties out there who are right hand dominant (or taught themselves to be) in their chose field.

    I form some of my letters backwards, too, like a leftie, but I am not exclusively right handed, except in writing. Even through my teens, I threw, batted, and served left handed. Curiously, I wear my watch on my right wrist like Angelina.

  7. October 18, 2010 12:07 pm

    I form some of my letters backwards, too, like a leftie, but I am not exclusively right handed, except in writing. Even through my teens, I threw, batted, and served left handed. Curiously, I wear my watch on my right wrist like Angelina.

    Ooh, I’m the same. I still in fact wear my watch (when I wear one) on my right wrist, with the face on the inside of my wrists. I think that is a left handed nurse thing I observed. Thanks for stopping by.

    I was wondering about Joan Jett. She seems to fall in the Sly Stallone category too. It’s really interesting how pop culture tends to downplay or erase left handedness, unless a person is really famous.

    Though most curious of all, is Tom Cruise is often reported to be left handed, but good luck trying to find proof of it via his films or his wrist selection for watch wearing. But I did notice him playing pool in The Color of Money with his left hand!

  8. unscrambled permalink
    October 18, 2010 12:11 pm

    When some right handed student sits in the seat I sit in every day in the lecture hall, I chafe. Not because there’s assigned seating, but because right handed desks are crap.

    fellow lefty, natch.

    also: “Bruce Willis is a Left Handed Republican”

    brilliant!

  9. IrishUp permalink
    October 18, 2010 4:42 pm

    The first “famous person” I knew of being left-handed was Jimi Hendrix:

    In my crowd, one of the rights of passage into Acceptable Level of Rock’n’Roll Knowledge was having a firm grasp of the implications and impact on future musicians of Jimi’s left-handedness.

  10. October 18, 2010 11:35 pm

    I’m not the only Lefty on the IFMiB staff, am I?

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