To the left: International Left-handers Day, a day to celebrate southpaws

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Former President Obama, left, speaks to David Letterman on Letterman’s new Netflix talk show, which premieres Friday.
Netflix

Raise your hand if you are left-handed. Well, here’s to you on this International Left-handers Day.

About one in 10 of you could do so, as researchers have found 10 percent to 15 percent of people are left-handed.

Being left-handed has often been considered the cause of a tougher path through life, with obstacles including right-handed school desks, scissors and notebooks. But lefties have a penchant for success and creativity. Perhaps it is because they have more brain symmetry than righties, as some research suggests.

And that makes sense, as many famous and successful people have been left-handed. Among them: philosopher Aristotle and artists Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci and Pablo Picasso were lefties. So was Napoleon and Mahatma Gandhi.

Among scientists and inventors Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Alan Turing, considered the father of modern computing, were left-handed, too.

Many U.S. presidents have been left-handed including Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Successful lefties in the business world include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a leftie, too.

Oprah Winfrey backs restaurant-chain True Kitchen.
ANTHONY HARVEY, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

There’s a long history of left-handed musicians from Beethoven to Justin Bieber. Others include: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Cole Porter, Judy Garland, Lou Rawls, Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Natalie Cole, Glen Campbell, Isaac Hayes, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, George Michael, Robert Plant, Sting, Lady Gaga, Phil Collins, and Eminem.

Famous left-handed athletes include baseball hall of famers Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Sandy Koufax, Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson. Also left-handed: Larry Bird, James Harden, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Rafael Nadal and Phil Mickelson.

Hollywood has its share of lefties including Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Robert DeNiro, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Demi Moore.

Lefties can be funny, too, as seen by the collection of left-handed comedians and actors including Carol Burnett, Richard Pryor, Jerry Seinfeld (and Seinfeld co-star Jason Alexander), Dan Ackroyd, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Trey Parker, Seth Rogen and Jon Stewart.

In the past, being left-handed was thought to be a sign of evil, and there’s been some examples in that category, too, with the Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper and Osama bin Laden being left-handed.

Scientists still cannot confirm a determination of handedness, although children of left-handed parents are more likely to inherit the trait.

So, on this day, if you notice one of your friends or coworkers is a leftie, give them a hand – not because they need help, but because they are unique.


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