When we see actors in movies or television, we see their character. When we see them on the red carpet, at galas or award shows, we assume they are outgoing and confident, but, as Daryl Hannah pointed out, that isn’t true of everyone in Hollywood. This week, Daryl Hannah revealed that she was diagnosed with autism as a child. This was at a time when ASD wasn’t well understood and doctors suggested that she be medicated and institutionalized. Her mother disagreed.
In a recent interview, Hannah said she removed herself from the busy, public life of Hollywood, accepting some roles. She now lives on a farm, drives a truck powered by french fry grease and has a rescue pig. Her passion is environmental activism (she has been arrested several times over the past few years.) When younger, she refused talk shows and didn’t attend her own movie premieres, “Not because I was above it, but because I was terrified.” 
When young, she would rock incessantly to calm down and says she still rocks. Because she was painfully shy, she found solace in watching movies, and fell in love with them. At the age of 17 she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, “Acting for me was about going to the Land of Oz and meeting the Tin Man.” 
Daryl Hannah has found peace in her life, she has found a balance, acting sometimes but pursuing her passion and living a quiet life.
Autism is seen as a “male” disorder, with four times as many boys being diagnosed than girls. However, some researchers believe this is because symptoms of autism show up differently in girls and are often overlooked or seen as extreme shyness. Daryl Hannah is just one woman who has come forward about ASD. Some others include:
- Jasmine O’Neill - author of Through the Eyes of Aliens
- Dawn Prince-Hughes - author of Songs for the Gorilla Nation and primate anthropologist and ethologist
- Judy Singer - Australian disability rights activist
- Temple Grandin - author
- Donna Williams - author of Nobody Nowhere and Somebody Somewhere
- Heather Kuzmich - fashion model and reality show contestant on America’s Next Top Model
- Lizzy Clark - UK actress
As we continue to learn more about the many faces of ASD and understand more about how symptoms appear in females, this list will undoubtedly grow.
“Daryl Hannah Opens Up About Living with Autism,” 2013, Sept 28, Johnny Dodd, People Magazine
A Genius Explains, Guardian.co.uk
No Autistics Allowed, Michelle Dawson
A Place for All, Jasmine Lee O’Neill
Published On: October 10, 2013