Thursday, December 3, 2009
A big bald head.
Bill Shatner's first ever feature-film appearance - one that at that point seemed to present a trajectory towards eventual leading man status - was in the 1958 movie The Brothers Karamazov based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's famous novel. "This was my big break, this role was going to make me a star," reflected Bill Shatner in his wonderful and very funny autobiography Up Till Now.
The actor moved to L.A. with his wife Gloria in order to perform in the movie, which was shot in 1957. Despite still having (albeit thinning) hair of his own, there evidently wasn't enough of it to be trimmed into the short, bowl-shaped hairstyle that the character of Alexej Karamazov, a prospective monk, required. Thus, Bill Shatner began his movie career wearing a wig.
Upon the movie's release, many posters simply featured a large picture of the head of the movie's star Yul Brynner (who as reader "RM" recently commented kept kicking Bill Shatner in the pants during the shoot for some reason). So, not only did Bill Shatner begin his movie career wearing a wig, but the first ever time he saw his name on a movie poster, the dominant image was that of a big bald head! Perhaps there was a message there somewhere - success without a toupee is possible too!