(Image credit: Tor Lindstrand)
Fears. Phobias. Is there any one of us who won't admit to at least one? Sure, it's easy to find everyone else's rather silly, but if it's our own, it becomes deathly serious. Here are some fears and phobias of the great and famous.
George Washington and Hans Christian Andersen were both terrified of being buried alive. Before Washington died in 1799 he made the attendants promise to wait two days before burying him. Reputedly, Andersen always wore a sign around his neck whenever he slept, informing whoever read it that he was only sleeping, not dead.
One day, Henry Ford was fiddling around with a microscope. He had a close look at sugar crystals and he was horrified by their sharp points. He swore off sugar for the rest of his life, fearing it would slice up his internal organs.
Phobias can be quite ironic. Yes, it is true that Walt Disney, who gave us the immortal cartoon character Mickey Mouse, was actually afraid of mice.
And Bela Lugosi, movies' immortal Count Dracula the vampire, was terrified of blood.
In the 1940's, Howard Hughes was bit on his manhood by a dog. For the rest of his life, he had a fear and phobia of dogs.
Richard Nixon was terrified of hospitals. He believed if he entered one, he would never come out. When he had a blood clot in 1974, he refused to go to the hospital. Finally, when he was told that if he didn't go, he'd die, he grudgingly agreed.
Frederick the Great was so terrified of water, he couldn't take a bath. His servants would clean him off using dry towels.
Stage fright is one of the most common phobias. Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Gracie Allen, and Sir Laurence Olivier all suffered from severe cases. Donny Osmond's was so severe, that when he was performing in a play, he thought he was going to pass out.
Alfred Hitchcock was terrified of eggs. He never ate an egg in his life and refused to be around them. Hitch also had acute fear of heights (inspiration for Vertigo?) and open spaces (inspiration for North by Northwest?)
Ernest Hemingway feared telephones. It stemmed from his fear of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. (Hmm... that one doesn't sound so irrational, does it?)
Dean Martin had a severe case of claustrophobia. He absolutely refused to ride in an elevator, once reputedly walking up 18 flights of stairs to avoid riding in one.
Napoleon and Julius Caesar had a phobia in common: both were terrified of cats.
Without question, comedian/director Woody Allen is "the king of fears & phobias.” Woody's long list includes fears of open spaces, closed spaces, heights, insects, bright colors, animals, elevators and (no kidding!) peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of his mouth. Woody also refuses to shower in any tub if the drain is in the middle and not in the corner.
Other fears and phobias:
Fear of flying in planes: Muhammad Ali, George Harrison, Ronald Reagan, Tony Curtis, Whitney Houston, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Lenny Kravitz.
Fear of the dark: Stephen King, Margaret Thatcher, Joan Collins, Anne Rice.
Fear of clowns: Billy Bob Thornton and Johnny Depp. (Billy Bob also is terrified of antique furniture.)
Fear of earthquakes: George Clooney, Kevin Bacon.
Fear of snakes: Madeleine Albright, Stephen King, Chevy Chase, and Sarah, Duchess of York.
The Dalai Lama is afraid of caterpillars.
Judy Garland was scared of horses.
Sigmund Freud may have been a fairly good doctor, but he was scared of ferns.
Madonna: fear of thunder.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is afraid of the dark and monsters under the bed.
Queen Elizabeth I was afraid of roses.
Christina Ricci is scared of gerbils.
Robert Mitchum was the ultimate "macho actor", but he was terrified of crowds.
Pamela Anderson is scared of mirrors.
Justin Timberlake: snakes, spiders, sharks.
Megan Fox is scared of dry paper. Before she even reads or looks at a script, she has to wet the pages with water.