This is the list of men who the Hair Club wants dead. These are the men who made it sexy to be bald.
If you were paying attention in the late ’80s, you noticed a trend: more and more bald men stopped wearing hair pieces. Then, they stopped the comb-overs. Sure, you had the odd Donald Trump here (comb-over) and the William Shatner there (toupee), but by the mid ’90s, most were quite comfortable with their baldness.
By then, bald was considered so sexy that even people with a full, thick head of hair were shaving it off (see Vin Diesel, below). This is the list of men who taught us what the women knew all along but until recently were afraid to admit: bald is sexy.
Before we get to the list itself, we need to understand the different types of sexy baldness sexiness that are out there:
The Founding Fathers
The first step to being bald in a sexy way (after losing your hair) is to have no qualms whatsoever about your baldness. Back in the fifties and sixties, the anti-bald stigma poisoned our society like no era before or since, and it took super-high testosterone-filled swagger to pull off the bald look. The wisdom was, if you lose your hair, you’re a loser, so hide it any way you can. But the founding fathers didn’t believe in that crap. They helped society take the first steps towards enlightenment: recognizing the inherent sex appeal of the bald head.
The Founding Fathers showed the true potential of baldness, but before the ’80s, the Founding Fathers were considered the exception to the rule. The normalizers took bald sexiness from interesting oddity to widespread phenomenon, inspiring bald men everywhere to throw away the Rogaine and buy razors in bulk.
The primary element to being a sexy man is a commanding presence. Whether you’re up in the club looking sexy or battling aliens, a key ingredient to this type of sexiness is leadership — that certain indefinable quality that makes everyone stop what they’re doing and pay attention to your plan to save the day (or get the bartender’s attention). It’s a question of leadership, and these men showed that the first step in developing natural leadership is to lose your hair.
Action heroes are sexy. Bald action heroes doubly so.
These men were not bald, but they shaved their heads in an attempt to improve their sex appeal. So, technically, they’re not as sexy as the others on this list. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Plus, they showed that baby-faced baldies can be sexy too. So we’ll make them honorary members of the club. If they’re lucky, maybe their hair will fall out as they get older!
10. Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower
Ike’s main contribution to society was to make it seem normal to see a bald man in power. True, he also defeated the Nazis, kept the free world safe from the Communists, and set the course to eventually win the space race, but obviously none of that would have happened if he had a full head of hair, or if he wore a toupee. He gets extra points for baring it all so early in our history. (FOUNDING FATHER, COMMANDER)
9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Fandomaniacs probably remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from his quality kung fu and acting skills when he played Hakim, the most dangerous fighter that Bruce Lee had to defeat in the kung fu classic Game of Death. If that were all you knew of him, you’d think he didn’t belong on this list, since in that movie his big hair was all over the place. It was like a third combatant.
But it turns out Abdul-Jabbar was also one of the greatest basketball players of all time. When he shaved his head in the early ’80s, his already-amazing basketball skills got even better, allowing him to lead the Lakers as one of the winningest teams of the 1980s. Not only did he prove a bald head makes you a better baller, he inspired millions of basketball fans to hope and pray they would lose their hair and have an excuse to shave their heads. (NORMALIZER)
8. Telly Savalas
With his trademark lollipop and “who loves you, babe?” catchphrase, Telly Savalas put the boldness in baldness. While his role as Kojak reminded Americans every week that baldness equals sexiness, his movie roles showed it also meant toughness. In The Young Savages, Battle of the Bulge, The Dirty Dozen (1967), and other classics, Telly Savalas showed those who followed that baldness has potential. He also set up the expectation that, when a bald man shows up at the party, he’ll probably have a beautiful woman on each arm. (FOUNDING FATHER, ACTION HERO)
7. Michael Stipe
With all these action heroes and athletes running around being bald and looking sexy, you might think the creative artsy men are doomed to needing long, thick locks. Not so. True, Michael Stipe started out that way — he had the shoulder-length hair. But then he had a stroke of good luck: his hairline started receding. That’s when he shaved it all off, and the sex appeal really kicked in. Stipe showed us that women who are into sensitive, artistic, cerebral men can find a bald man to suit their needs, too. (NORMALIZER)
6. Michael Jordan
Back in the day, everyone wanted to “be like Mike.” Initially, though, when he had hair, Mike was just another talented athlete. But once he started losing the locks, his career took off. Greatest player of all time, leader on and off the court, and underwear spokesman. Men wanted to be him, and women wanted to be with him. That’s sexy baldness. He even co-starred with Bugs Bunny! And it never would have happened if he had a full head of hair. (NORMALIZER, COMMANDER)
5. Yul Brynner
Yul had it all: charisma, an exotic background, a commanding presence, and, most of all, he was bald. But he wasn’t just bald. He was proud to be bald. Playing cowboys, killer robots, and kings, Yul Brynner had the kind of personality that took over every room he entered.
And he didn’t try to cover his baldness with hairpieces or do-rags. He shoved his baldness right out there for all to see. Case in point: when Brynner was filming The Magnificent Seven, his costar Steve McQueen kept trying to steal every scene by fidgeting and talking over Yul’s lines. Brynner didn’t get mad. Instead, he told McQueen that the next time he pulled a cheap trick to try to steal attention from the other actors, Yul would take off his cowboy hat. At the time, Yul was one of two men who never covered up his baldness (Savalas was the other). It was so rare, and he wore it with such confidence, that if he took off the cowboy hat, everyone else in the scene would basically become invisible. McQueen realized Yul was just wearing the hat as a courtesy to the other actors, and behaved himself for the rest of production. That’s a bold bald man. (FOUNDING FATHER, COMMANDER)
4. Jason Statham
Statham has portrayed bookies, transdimensional cops, farmers-turned-warrior-kings, and the toughest delivery man who ever lived. None of that would count for much if he weren’t bald. He doesn’t even shave the sides, which gets him extra points because it makes him look like your favorite little league coach one minute, and a guy who could rip your leg off and bludgeon you to death with it the next minute. Chicks dig that. (ACTION HERO, NORMALIZER)
3. Vin Diesel
From coast to coast, panties drop at the mention of this baldy’s name. His movies get worse and worse, yet his sex appeal gets stronger and stronger. How does he do it? By being bald, of course. The muscles help, and the deep voice is a nice touch. But it all starts with a clean dome, unblemished by those unsightly hair follicles that the other movie stars like Jude Law and Johnny Depp suffer from. The only thing that could advance him on this list is if some of the baldness were natural. If he’s lucky, by the time he’s 40 he won’t need those razors any more. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you, Vin! (ACTION HERO, WANNABE)
2. Bruce Willis
He started out in Moonlighting. He was kind of cute and charming in a “bachelor who tries too hard” kind of way. Then he married Demi Moore. So far, so good. But as time went on, we noticed him wearing do-rags and baseball hats. Okay, we thought, he’s losing his hair. He’s not sure what to do about it. Then he figured it out: bare your bare brainpan proudly. What happened next? BANG! Instant sex symbol. From down-on-his-luck cop in Die Hard to mafia hitman in The Whole Nine Yards, Bruce makes it all look good. He makes it all look good because he’s bald. (ACTION HERO, COMMANDER, NORMALIZER)
1. Patrick Stewart
When Stewart became Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, it was 1987 and people were just starting to get over the anti-bald brainwashing that had been going on in our society for decades. Stewart especially represents the great awakening our society went through when you contrast him to the previous Star Trek captain: William Shatner, the king of the hair pieces.
But it goes beyond Star Trek and X-Men and being a science fiction god. Before his screen success, he worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company. When you play that many kings, you can’t help but develop an authoritative presence. In addition to his theatre experience in London, his early roles in Excalibur and Dune put him on par with Brynner and Savalas as an early adopter. For this reason, at 70 years old he’s still considered a sex symbol. Plus, if you’ve seen his appearance on Extras, you’ll agree he’s a comedic genius. Patrick Stewart is number one on our list because he brings it all together. (FOUNDING FATHER, ACTION HERO, COMMANDER, NORMALIZER)
- Mitch Pileggi (X-Files, Stargate: SG-1)
- Ed Norton (American History X)
- Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
- John M. Jackson (JAG)
- Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft)
- Chris Daughtry (American Idol)
Good list, but I would’ve put Yul Brynner waaaay ahead of the others, sexinesswise. The Magnificent Seven Let’s see Patrick top THAT.
@Maggie Van Ostrand: I agree. Yul brynner was the sexist bald headed actor.
But that’s an awesome idea. I want to see a remake of the Magnificent Seven starring Patrick Stewart in Yul Brynner’s role as Chris Adams. It would be tough to find a person to play Steve McQueen’s role. Maybe Bruce Greenwood. And Eli Roth could be the young arrogant guy. I forgot his name.
Great, now I’m all excited about something that will never happen.
Amazing list. <3
Excellent list! <3 @ Patrick Stewart.
Honorable Mention– for Mitch Pileggi!!! Who did this list??? He’s at least in the Top 10 if not in the Top 5.
Not to split hairs, but remember that this is a list of the men who made it sexy to be bald, not a list of bald people who are/were sexy (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
you couldnt resist what? Making people feel bad about themselves?
Let’s look at this from another angle.
Most of these men were athletes (Shaq, Kareem) or depicted as powerful heroes in action movies (Yul, Patrick, Jason, Vin) or were already successful when they went bald (Strip from REM) or the POTUS himself (Dwight).
The sexyness in these people is not in their baldness. Their sexyness is in other things – strength, power, success – which society has depicted supposedly sexy for men. These people made it okay to look bald. That does not mean that baldness made them sexy.
Take Patrick Stewart. He worked on the stage for years and years. He actually struggled for years. Until Star Trek in 1987, Patrick was not wealthy. Wiki says, “he found that despite a lengthy career, his reputation was not great enough to bring a production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to West End theatre”. It was his Star Trek character that made him sexy.
Take Eisenhower. He was the last bald man to be elected president.
Let’s accept it, bald is not sexy, unless you have other credentials to overcome your balding record.
Megan, you do realize that Patrick Stewart was balding at the age of 19? He created success for himself WHILE he was bald. Statham is the same, becoming a movie star while bald. While it’s true that these men weren’t sexy because they were bald, it’s the same thing for any other men. Men aren’t sexy for one reason, justin bieber’s hair was made famous by justin bieber not the other way around. The men above would look good with hair or without it, they had the facial symmetry, or the body, or the personality, or the success. Most of them had a combination of all of the factors. The point was that no matter what made them so sexy, hair loss never held them back.
I like the fact that the Founding Fathers couldn’t give a rat’s ass about being bald … and I’m talking Ben Franklin and John Adams, two of the most important and smartest. Regarding Hollywood, the great direct Cecil B. De Mille never hided his baldness either. As one actress once quipped, “he wore his baldness like an expensive hat”. I do the same. Ed B