Thomas Bolin ‘Tom’ Smothers, known for his role in the comedic TV duo The Smothers Brothers, earned his fame and by portraying the ‘dumber’ of the two brothers. Smothers accepted his role as part of his own life too, recognizing that he wasn’t as good at spelling and reading as his classmates throughout his schooling. It wasn’t until he was 30 years old that he learned why school was so hard for him. Smothers has dyslexia.

Smothers, whose dyslexia made it hard for him to do well in school, had learned by the fourth grade that comedy could become both an outlet of expression for him as well as a mask to hide behind when he struggled with homework. He often played ‘the dumb one’ in school to avoid embarrassment or critique, building up his comedic timing skills and deliberative manner of speaking.

His career beyond The Smothers Brothers allowed him to explore his other talents like music composition and performance, and ultimately earned him an induction into the TV Academy Hall of Fame. These successes would not have been possible if Smothers hadn’t of followed his interest comedy during his years as a struggling grade school student.