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Famous ‘social anxiety’ sufferers  


Donny Osmond 

American singer, Donny Osmond, who had his first major hit Puppy Love in 1972 and starred in the TV show Donny and Marie from 1976-1978 suffers from anxiety. Donny had stage fright and experienced a panic attack during a performance in 1994.
The panic attacks prevented him from singing and made him believe he was going to black out. Donny was scared of shopping centres as he thought people might gather around to ridicule him. Donny sought assistance from a psychologist and engaged in cognitive behavioural therapy.

Life Is Just What You Make It: My Story So Far by Donny Osmond and Patricia Romanowski . 

Barbara Streisand 

American Singer/actress/director Barbara Streisand's social phobia prevented her from singing in public for twenty seven years. Whilst giving a concert in Central Park, New York in 1967, Streisand forgot the words to severl songs. From then on, Streisand was worried that she might make embarrassing mistakes again if she performed in public and therefore totally avoided such engagements. 

Streisand learnt to cope with her stage fright and gave a comeback tour in 1994. She gradually exposed herself to her fear of performing live, starting with a smaller warm up show, then a national tour and then performing in front of a large television audience. The gradual accumulation of positive responses to her performances led to a change in Streisand's thinking. 

Sir Laurence Olivier 

Actor Laurence Olivier developed social phobia when at the peak of his career. At the time he was both acting in and directing a play at the National Theatre, London. The problem started when he began thinking that he might be too tired to recall his lines. Olivier recounts in his autobiography that he suffered from social phobia for five years.  

Susie O'Neill 

Commonwealth gold medallist, Queensland swimmer Susie O'Neill has had to overcome anxiety in order to fulfil her potential as an athlete. In an interview for the Australian Womens. Weekly, November 1998, Susie spoke of how her anxiety had impacted upon her ability to perform as a swimmer. In the early days she dreaded ever winning in case it meant she had to stand on the dais and be the centre of attention. Then she'd pray she wouldn't be chosen for a team event because she was terrified of trying to talk to people she didn't know. 

Rebecca Gibney 

Australian actress, Rebecca Gibney, who has starred in the Flying Doctors, Come In Spinner, Halifax FP and Altogether Now has had to contend with debilitating panic attacks too. In an interview in new idea 7/9/96 dealing with panic attacks Rebecca said she did not understand what as happening to her when she walked off the set of Halifax FP in uncontrollable tears, anxious she would not remember her lines. Then again at the Logie Awards in 1996, the stress an anxiety took hold and she was overcome with nausea and shortness of breath, pacing the foyer and unable to take her seat. 

Gary Mc Donald 

Australian actor, Gary McDonald who has starred in the Norman Gunston Show, Mother and Son had experienced social phobia and panic attacks. 

Simon Palomares 

Australian actor/comedian - Wogs Out of Work, Acropolis Now - has experienced social phobia and panic attacks. 

Kim Basinger

American, Oscar winning actor, Kim Basinger is reported to suffer from panic, agoraphobia and social phobia. 

When she accepted her Oscar, again the words wouldn't come, even though she had been practising a response for days. 

Basinger related how she could trace her anxiety disorders back to childhood. As a child her worst fear was being asked to read aloud to the class. Her fear of school was such that teachers thought she as having a nervous breakdown. 

Basinger has had psychological therapy for her anxiety and apparently it has been the solution to her problems.  


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