The world lost a musical legend last week with the death of David Bowie. Those of us who are old enough remember his music well: “Fame,” “Let’s Dance,” (Ch-ch-ch) “Changes” and “Space Oddity” (Ground control to Major Tom). Bowie (also called The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust and a chameleon) is a rock ‘n’ roll icon, but it wasn’t until I looked back at his pictures that I remembered his mismatched eyes. The picture to the left, emphasizes Bowie’s condition from a permanently dilated pupil he apparently got as a kid after a fight. So, it’s not quite heterochromia iridis or irises of different colors, but it’s striking all the same.
A number of celebrities have mismatched eyes. Perhaps–who knows?–it helped get them noticed. True heterochromia, which can be caused by an injury or appear at birth, tends to make a face more interesting. In Alice Eve’s case, her right eye inclines toward blue, her left, green. (You can get a better look by clicking on the image.)
I have a particular interest in heterochromia because I made use of the trait in my novel The God of Sno Cone Blue. My main character, Grace, has eyes similar to those of baseball pitcher Max Scherzer, seen here, with his one bright blue eye and the other dark brown. As with the general population, some celebrity cases of heterochromia are obvious, like Max’s, some not. Some involve the entire iris and some only sections. Here’s a look at a few more examples…
Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis says she’s had trouble with her eyesight and the health of her eyes, which may explain why one is green and the other a darker, greenish brown. She has no trouble landing acting jobs, though, from the voice of Meg Griffin in the animated series Family Guy to roles in Black Swan, her breakout movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall and many more.
Here’s one you might not have noticed: Dan Aykroyd. The trailblazing actor, comedian, screenwriter, musician and entrepreneur also has eyes of differing color. It’s probably not conspicuous in a Ghostbuster suit, but if you look closely (you can click on this image as well) one of his eyes is blue, the other green.
Perhaps the first celebrity we noticed with heterochromia was Jane Seymour. The actress, who for years played Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, has what’s known as sectoral heterochromia, where only a portion of one iris is different. In her case, the lower half of her right eye is dark brown while the rest, as well as her left eye, is a much lighter, hazel green.
Could it be the eyes? My daughter’s favorite actor (at least for the moment) also has sectoral heterochromia. But the effect is far more subtle with Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor who plays an aloof, laser-focused Sherlock Holmes. (Cumberbatch is also a producer as well as a stage and film actor). It’s not easy to see (click on the image for a better look), but he has a tiny brown spot in his right iris and asymmetrical striations in his pale green eyes.
There’s no mistaking Kate Bosworth’s eyes of a different color. While at first glance it appears one of her eyes is blue and the other brown, she actually has sectoral heterochromia as well. If you look closely, you’ll see the brown hue appears to invade only the lower half of her right eye with some blue remaining above it.
One final example for you: yet another image of sectoral heterochromia. Does this one catch your eye? He does mine–I mean his heterochromia of course. Henry Cavill, of “Man of Steel” fame, has bright blue eyes, as you can see here, but his left iris is punctuated by a patch of brown. Hard to call it a flaw though, wouldn’t you agree?
If you’d like to leave a comment, please feel free. Is there an unusual physical trait that you find interesting or attractive?