"Amazingly, [Shatner] never kept any personal photographs because he did not want to see 'the harsh reality of the passage of time etched in the unforgiving stills.'”
-Captain Quirk, The Unauthorized Biography of William Shatner, Dennis William Hauck.
We're reluctant to take the claims in this often sensasionalistic biography at face value, but this particular one seems highly credible. And if it is, does Shatner's toupee-wearing play a role in his apparent disdain for photographs of himself?
Imagine you wear a toupee. Does that now make your real baldness a dirty private secret? Does that then mean that your public persona, however "false", is the one you wish to project at all times? What about private photos; must they now also be marked this choice? "But honey, this is just for us. If we wait for you to run upstairs for your rug, it will spoil the moment!" Surely, with this mindset, if a toupee-less photo ever leaked, the secret would be out...horror...panic!
Sadly, the few private photos of Bill Shatner without his toupee were taken from Shats' home and sealed "for their own safety" by the Warren Commission, investigating Shatner's alleged baldness back in the 1960s. The Commission ultimately concluded that Shatner did not wear a toupee and that his hair is "thick and plentiful". The alleged toup-less photos will not be released to the public until 2017. Just kidding...
Since Shats would likely not have worn his lace in the pool, this photo is probably somewhat staged for the cameras.
Imagine you have to pose for a family photo. "Wait! Don't you dare take a picture of me like this!" Shatner then quickly rushes over and lays on his rug. His kids are wondering what that thing is that daddy keeps putting on his head. "OK, now you can take the picture." We have a few examples where presicely this scenario appears to have been the case. Or is it just the perfectly understandable selected projection of a public image?
Perhaps it is Shatner's appreciation for the evident falseness, weirdness, idiocy - you choose a word - that fuels his reluctance to look at pictures of himself - "That isn't me," he might say, "That is only the public me; the fake staged me." Does the real Shatner even exist?
Of course, there is another scenario. Imagine that cameras show up and you either have no toupee, a bad toupee or haven't had time to check the lace line in the mirror. Solution: wear a hat.
Perhaps below is the very same hat permanently stuffed into Shatner's left pocket in case of a toupee emergency...
At least when you are motorcycling, you can have the staged toupee picture taken...
Then rip the damn thing off and revel in the protection of your helmet....
Freedom from vanity at last!
UPDATE: A reader has commented, suggesting we have been a bit mean to our hero: "As a Hollywood actor, it's no surprise that there are many pictures like this. They are photo-ops, and the sort of thing I would imagine were quite normal in that day and age. Of course they are staged - that's the point!" The reader also adds, "While we can all poke fun at Shatner for his toupees, I think it goes beyond a line when you start making fun of him in some of the more personal photos."