Crazy Genius from A Beautiful Mind: Russell Crowe’s Character in Real Life

The 2001 biographical drama A Beautiful Mind won four Academy Awards and was praised by critics and the general audience alike. The story of a math genius who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia has touched the hearts of many people from all over the world.

The character has a real-life prototype. The award-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. was born in 1928. He began showing clear signs of mental illness in his 30s. Nash worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology at that time. The signs of paranoid schizophrenia were becoming more and more evident. He was delusional and hallucinated. The scientist filled the blackboards with illegible scribblings and wandered about the campus in a daze.

Eventually, John was sent off to a psychiatric clinic. By that time, Nash had come to believe that he was the leader of a worldwide movement for peace that only he knew existed.

His psychoanalysts suggested that the mathematician developed paranoid schizophrenia because he wanted to hide his homosexuality. Nash was an exemplary family man and the father of two sons. One way or another, the scientist was treated with all the available and legitimate methods of those times: insulin shock therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychoanalysis, as well as antipsychotics, which helped to reduce hallucinations and delusions.

The following years of John’s life were a mix of sanity and unstable periods. Nash often lived in his own imaginary world, ignoring everyone around him. Nevertheless, the disease did not stop John from work. He made some brilliant scientific discoveries after the diagnosis.

On May 23, 2015, the talented scientists and his wife Alicia tragically died in a car accident at the age of 87.