Meri’s Musical Musings

Actors, Political Leaders, Athletes, and Scientists who play musical instruments

Posted on: January 24, 2011

(note: I’m looking to expand this list, especially among the athletes and scientists)

Famous people who play musical instruments or sing


Woody Allen, clarinet—in fact he’s an excellent player, has a number of videos of him playing clarinet on Youtube

Whoopi Goldberg—piano and voice (she does in the Sister Act movies)

Julia Roberts (clarinet)

Steve Urkel, Accordion

Dick Van Dyke (clarinet)

Jim Carrey (clarinet)

Holly Hunter—took several years of piano lessons

Hugh Laurie–piano and voice

Steve Martin, banjo

Stephen Spielberg, clarinet

Christina Aguilera (voice, though she did learn clarinet as well)

Harpo Marx (mostly harp and piano, though could play several instruments)

Charlie Chaplin (voice (and piano?))

Meryl Streep, violin (in Music of the Heart)

Political Leaders:

Bill Clinton, saxophone

Bill Gates, trombone

The children of Barack Obama—both their children are taking piano lessons, there was a feature about it a few years ago.

Benjamin Franklin, flute

Alan Greenspan, clarinet

Stephen Harper, current Canadian Prime Minister, piano

Ramon Hnatshyn, past Governor-General of Canada, bass clarinet

Condoleeza Rice, piano

The late Jack Layton, Canadian political leader, New Democratic Party (NDP), guitar

Professional Atheletes:

Jack Nichalson (pro golfer), piano

Bernie Williams, (baseball, New York Yankees), guitar; he also recorded an album

Eddie Basinski, (baseball;, Brooklyn Dodgers),violin–fiddle style

Denny McLain (baseball; Detroit Tigers), organ

Matt Lashoff (hockey), guitar; he also released an album

Zachary Yuan (NHL hockey player, (new) Winnipeg Jets), piano


Albert Einstein, violin


Winner of Miss USA Pagent–piano–she played it as part of the contest!

Ludwig Wittgenstein (philosopher)–piano

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher (flute?). There are known musical compositions by him.

Regis Philbin, talk show host, author, media personality–singer

3 Responses to "Actors, Political Leaders, Athletes, and Scientists who play musical instruments"

Joey Harrington Football Quarterback (Detroit Lions- Oregon) plays piano

chico marx- piano; groucho marx- guitar; chaplin played violin and composed many of the music in his own films; dana carvey- piano, drums, guitar; chevy chase- piano, drums; christopher guest multiple instruments, etc.

George Seagal – clarinet, banjo

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  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
  • Megan Michie: I know this post was a long time ago now, but you might be glad to know its still being read. My addition to this list would be that a clarinet stand

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