President Bill Clinton’s rare talent

Mike Krumboltz
The DifferenceOctober 10, 2011

The highly anticipated A Decade of Difference Concert is drawing near. Former president Bill Clinton (whose Clinton Foundation is being celebrated) may want to invest in a new camera to help remember the big night. Or maybe not. In addition to Clinton's many other talents, he is known for having a near photographic memory.

The term gets tossed around a lot, but to actually have the ability is quite rare. According to a 1994 article from the Washington Post, Clinton "stunned a friend visiting the White House by saying, 'Let's call your parents!' and then reciting a number he hadn't dialed in more than a decade." In 2004, Clinton spoke with Oprah about his autobiography. He said had no trouble remembering "what happened to everyone's children and grandchildren," a talent that came in handy while writing his life story.

Clinton isn't the only celebrity who can boast of having a photographic memory. It has been reported that "House" star Hugh Laurie has the ability, as well. Singer/actor/reality star Meatloaf explains that he asked Laurie to help him out during an album recording. Meatloaf claims that Laurie took a quick look at the sheet music, and that was all he needed for the eight-minute piece of music.

Clinton and Laurie may have great memories, but actress Marilu Henner could be on a whole other level. Last year, the former "Taxi" star explained to "60 Minutes" that she has a "superior autobiographical memory." The rare talent allows Henner to remember in detail just about every day of her entire life. During the interview with Lesley Stahl, Henner explains that it's "like putting in a DVD and it queues up to a certain place. I'm there again, so I'm looking out from my eyes and seeing things visually as I would have that day."

Others who have been reported as having a photographic memory include Theodore Roosevelt, film director Guillermo del Toro, and former basketball star Jerry Lucas, who once "amazed a national TV audience by memorizing pages from the Manhattan phone book."