Orlando Bloom: “Dyslexia is a gift”
Orlando Bloom is an A-list actor, best known for his roles in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ trilogies. He has won countless awards for his good looks and acting talent. Bloom has taken his diagnosis with dyslexia at age seven as a tool for mastering his craft. He labels dyslexia “a very great gift, which is the way that your mind can think creatively.” His inspirational story shows that the disability can be empowering.
The Young Life of Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom was born in Canterbury, England on January 13th, 1977. He was raised in the Church of England by his mother and novelist Harry Saul Bloom until the age of four. Bloom was told that his mother’s husband was his father, but found out at 13 the man who adopted him after the elder Bloom’s death was his biological father.
During his elementary schooling at The King’s School, Bloom took an IQ test and scored high, but was diagnosed with dyslexia for his trouble with spelling and reading. Bloom’s supportive mother urged him to take drama classes, where he developed a love for acting. He used performing as an outlet for his struggles with dyslexia. “When I was on stage I was more focused than I was anywhere else,” Bloom says. He and his sister memorized and performed favorite poems at competitive festivals, where they won top prizes.
Orlando Bloom’s Skyrocket to Fame
Bloom moved to London at 16, and was granted a scholarship to the British American Drama Academy after joining the National Youth Theatre. He appeared in bit roles in popular British television shows and the film ‘Wilde.’ Bloom perfected his auditions through his dyslexia, and meticulously studied his scripts. “The gift of dyslexia was that I learned everything forward and backward, inside out, so I was fully prepared,” he says of memorizing lines. “I had to learn everything so that I wouldn’t have stage fright or the lines wouldn’t fall out of my mind.”He attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and graduated in 1998. Days after receiving his diploma, Bloom was spotted by director Peter Jackson while performing in a play and granted his breakout role as Legolas in ‘Lord of the Rings.’
The blonde elf captured the hearts of viewers around the globe, and Bloom was quickly nominated for awards ranging from “Face of the Future” to “Best Debut Performance.” Bloom continued his streak with blockbuster films, completing the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and starring as a blacksmith turned swashbuckler in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise.
Bloom had planned to be a stage actor after university, and returned to his roots after the second ‘Pirates’ installment. He married Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr and had a son named Flynn in 2011. Bloom continues to wow audiences in major films to this day.
Orlando Bloom: The Philanthropist
An avid animal lover, Bloom rescued a Saluki dog during filming a movie in Morocco. He also joined the environmental company, Global Green, and redid his house to incorporate environmentally friendly materials. In 2009, Bloom joined celebrities to raise money for victims of Australian bushfires in an ‘Australia Unites’ fundraiser. He became a UNICEF ambassador in 2009 and frequently travels to Nepal to renovate the country’s education and sanitation systems. Bloom additionally spoke at the Adam Katz Memorial Lecture in 2010 to raise awareness for ADHD and dyslexia, as well as the Child Mind Institute lecture series that same year.
Orlando Bloom on Dyslexia
Through his support system and drive to excel, Bloom has made the most of his dyslexia. His mother would lovingly bribe him with money and gifts to read and write at his leisure. In a report sent home, Bloom’s teachers wrote “If he would only stop looking out the window or into the hamster cage, we think he’s probably a bright boy.” Bloom attended special classes to work on his comprehension and attention in primary school. It wasn’t until drama school that Bloom felt comfortable reading out loud. He channeled his difficult text into personal thoughts and feelings.
Bloom encourages parents to involve their children in creative pursuits. “Teach them anything is attainable,” he advises. To dyslexic children, Bloom advocates being confident in their abilities and pursuing their dreams.
Bloom has never been ashamed of his disorder. He uses dyslexia as a means to enhance his abilities. Orlando Bloom serves as a model for the dyslexic community for his optimism and perseverance.