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David Helfgott
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    (May 19, 1947- )
    Born in Melbourne, Australia
    Classical pianist
    Treated for schizoaffective disorder for most of the 1970s and early 80s
    Recorded the best-selling version of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto (1997)
    Portrayed by Geoffrey Rush in 'Shine' (1996)
    He was a child prodigy.
    His mental problems kept him from living up to his potential.
    His siblings have complained that the depiction of their father in 'Shine' is inaccurate.
    He often grunts and mutters noticeably during performances.
    After the release of 'Shine,' he had a very successful recording and concert career even though most critics feel his playing is quite poor.
    In his teens, he won the state finals of the ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition six times.
    He overcame his mental illness to return to the stage.
    His audiences find his performances inspirational, regardless of critical opinion.
    His wife said, 'If you can show me a happier classical performer than David Helfgott, I would be very surprised.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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