Monday, March 29, 2010

In fine toupological company.


-"Are they writing about your ears again, Leonard?"

-"Err...not this time, Bill!"


Inspired by our previous post, reader "vvatima" decided to undertake some additional toupological research and managed to unearth a June 19th 1967 story from the New York Times entitled "Modern Men Discover Fountain of Youth in a Hairpiece".

The article, which looks at toupee-usage by Hollywood's leading men, notes that:

"...an estimated 10 to 20 percent of male performers [wear toupees], including John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Rex Harrison, Fred MacMurray, Bing Crosby, Sean Connery, Fred Astaire, Pat O'Brien, Henry Fonda, Gene Kelly, Rick Jason, Mel Ferrer, William Shatner, Carl Reiner, Barry Sullivan and Jack Paar."
(emphasis ours)


What's interesting here is that 1967 was a period when Bill Shatner was becoming increasingly sensitive about the toupee, not just as part of his on-screen actor's persona, but off-screen behind-the-scenes too. So, the question is: how did the NYT confirm this information? Via a source? Via Bill Shatner?

Perhaps of even greater significance is that the article places Bill Shatner in the company of some of the biggest leading-men in Hollywood history, including Burt Lancaster, John Wayne, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Surely the shock of having one's "makeup secrets" revealed to the world would have been mitigated by the delight of being listed with such acting giants!

Click below for the full article:


And click on our "press report" tag for more early toupee reports, including one from a decade earlier.

UPDATE:

Reader "RM" points to a June 13 1992 story from The Morning Call:

"William Shatner and his wife/first mate Marcy Lafferty have beamed down to The Logan Tavern in New Hope to give a press conference announcing their performance of "Love Letters" at Bucks County Playhouse through tomorrow ..."

The article continues:

"Even if the 60-year-old former starship captain carries a hint of a paunch, he looks 20 years younger than his age. And Shatner, who was once the object of ridicule in gossip columns for wearing a girdle and a tribble-like toupee during his 'T.J. Hooker' days, showed up without his infamous hairpiece. And, surprise, he's not bald -- just a little thin on top."

The suggestion is that Bill Shatner attended a press conference of all things without wearing his toupee. Since this was a press conference, there will likely be pictures somewhere out there. However, we are somewhat skeptical - this would appear to be highly out of character for the actor, still very sensitive in the 1990s about his baldness.

12 comments:

  1. Found one from 1992:
    "Even if the 60-year-old former starship captain carries a hint of a paunch, he looks 20 years younger than his age. And Shatner, who was once the object of ridicule in gossip columns for wearing a girdle and a tribble-like toupee during his "T.J. Hooker" days, showed up without his infamous hairpiece. And, surprise, he's not bald -- just a little thin on top."

    http://tinyurl.com/ybnwbeb

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  2. tttttttttttttttttMarch 29, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    OMG that is an amazing discovery, RM... Maybe the author of the article was wrong though and the Shat was wearing a more natural looking, thinner toupee to the event.

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  3. Ops.. Some new and valuable information here..
    1967 - Shats on the toupee list along others Hollywood icons. Some of them did not hide that wore rugs (Crosby, Connery, Wayne, Astaire), but to the still thirtysomething Bill Shatner, to be outed like that, it must had been unconfortable.
    1992 - Was Bill weariug the Danny Crane plugs at the time? That explains the more "natural' look - the guy who the piece (ops!) must have been confused

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  4. My guess is in both cases, Shatner probably tried to avoid talking about the subject.

    Especially in the case of the 1967 article; this was probably not the comparison to such actors/celebrities as Lancaster, Crosby, Astaire, etc.

    I recall between 1990 and 1992, outside of the Star Trek films, he was seen in public with a piece kind of like his old Jim Kirk look.

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  5. The author, Jonathan Valania, has his own blog so maybe we could ask him how he remembers that occasion back in '92.
    http://www.phawker.com/

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  6. Ricky Martin admitted he is gay. Who knows Bill may accept being bald!

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  7. *Gasp* Not Barry Sullivan too!

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  8. ttttttttttttttttttttttttttMarch 30, 2010 at 5:09 AM

    Yah someone should definitely mention this blog and ask that author at his blog. Maybe he has some pics stashed somewhere!!!!

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  9. I only went to discover that William Shatner wore a toupee in the 80's. But back in 1967 the people were already suspicious. What did I know!? And after the hair like helmet that Shatner wore in the TJ years, anything after that would look natural.

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  10. Thanks, folks. We'll try to get in touch with Mr Valania. -ST

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  11. I don't know if you guys have covered this, but in this stage appearance -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfMTybkrO6Y --
    at 1:31, Shatner says -- seemingly joking -- to Patrick Stewart, "And we look so similar." Hmmm ... joke? Or hidden admission? You decide.

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  12. Randy HandwarmerApril 1, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Anyone who has written for the New York Times will confirm that their fact checkers are extremely thorough, so the inclusion there of Sir William of Shatner is most significant.

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