Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Encyclopedia Shatnerica toupee entry.

The Encyclopedia Shatnerica is an A-Z book featuring all things Shatner and has an entire entry marked "Toupee". Somewhat oddly, Bill Shatner mentions this book favorably in his autobiography Up Till Now despite its numerous references to the toupee issue. Perhaps he never read it. Anyway, here is the toupee entry:

"Speculation has long run rampant about the true nature of Shatner's impeccably coifed hair. While some deluded fans still maintain it is nothing but an expensive perm (and Shatner himself denies it is anything but 100 percent real), words like weave, plugs, and rug are more frequently used to account for the ever-changing shape and color of Shatner's mane over the decades.

"Because his personal wigs were too ratty-looking, Star Trek's producers had two custom hairpieces made for Shatner at the beginning of each television season in the late 1960s. That way, he could wear one while the other was being cleaned. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, the reserve hairpiece disappeared from the makeup department. A search was conducted, the usual inquiries were made, but the missing lid was never recovered. Suspicions began to turn toward Shatner himself, who, some allege, may have preferred the top-quality $200 workpiece wig to the substandard ones in his own collection."

See here for more on Shatner's "ratty" personal rug and the missing toupees. The entry continues:

"In the 1980s, Shatner opted for a fuller, wavier hairstyle that called even more attention to the issue. Reports had him spending as much as $2000 a month to maintain his weave. The curly monstrosity earned him recognition in a National Enquirer feature rating worst celebrity hairpieces. Togther with the tight bodice that Shatner wore to restrain his disdended belly, the topee is one of Shatner's few concessions to vanity. 'I don't like to see youth slipping away,' he admitted to Playboy in 1989. 'Seeing old photographs, buried in the attic someplace, that's one thing. But to see yourself walking around on a television screeen in one instant and then to compare that with your present-day form in the next is tough.'"

See here for more on where the author evidently sourced the "$2000 a month" rumor. The entry continues:

"In 1991, Shatner had to deal with more than just seeing his image reflected in old reruns, when placards featuring doctored photographs of him - along with five other bewigged celebrities - began appearing on walls and lampposts around lower Manhattan. The posters were part of a baldness outing campaign conducted by writer Ed Leibowitz and graphic designer Lorraine Heffernan, whose stated purpose was to 'wrest the toupees from the chrome domes of America's leading celebrities.' For the record, the other cueballs exposed in the campaign were Charles Bronson, Ted Danson, Larry Hagman, Joe Namath, and John Wayne.

"Why the public fascination with Shatner's hairpiece? The lure of the taboo, for one thing. Few have seen it - and fewer still lived to tell the tale. One of the few actors to speak openly about eyeballing Shatner's rug is Alan Tudyk, who costarred with him in 2004's Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Asked by an interviewer for his impressions of Shatner's piece, Tudyk reported: 'It's beautiful...[W]e also had Chuck Norris on that movie - his is nowhere near as good as Shatner's.'

" 'I don't wear a hairpiece. That's the stupidest question I ever heard.'

-Shatner, to a radio DJ who asked about the toupee in 1994"

All we have found for the Leibowitz-Heffernan story is this article from Entertainment Weekly - some pictures of the posters would be a great find, while the sources for the Alan Tudyk story are also unknown - if anyone out there has more on either, please let us know.


  1. This blog has become my new favorite in the past couple of days as I have now become fascinated with Shatner's toupee after reading it.
    However, now I'm questioning EVERYBODY's hair! Who else wore a toupee on the show (or later in the movies)? I've seen an interview where Walter Koenig admits to it... and while I think Deforest Kelley's hair on the Show was real, once you start getting to the movie era and beyond I begin to question it... but then again, Nimoy still has all of his hair at that age... OR DOES HE!?
    What do you think?

  2. Koenig wore one starting in the first Star Trek Movie
    Nimoy never needed a hairpiece.
    One can see in this pic taken in 1976 that Chekov was already wearing a full toupee (except for the sideburns)

    That toup Shat is wearing above in Star Trek 5 is pretty interesting. it is separating very clearly from the real hair.

  3. Interesting!
    What about Kelley? I can't tell!

  4. I kind of doubt it. This pic looks like you would expect 10 years after TOS. Some gray on the sides.

    He may have dyed his hair in later years. that might give it a fuller look. Some people say he did wear a hairpiece, though.

  5. Cadet ...

    I always believed that Kelley's hair during the TOS run was his own. He had a bald spot at the very top of his head which you can see (check out after he gets the improved surgical skill in 'Spock's Brain'). That being said, I question the hair color.

    In the movies I'm not so sure that's his real hair.

    Regarding Doohan, I think the commentary as Kelley applies, though I'm not sure if he dyed his hair.

    As for Nimoy ...

    I always believed the long bowl-like hair on his head was a wig or piece. This isn't to say that Nimoy was or is bald, but rather he wore his hair in a crew cut, and the makeup people would then place the bowl hair on top. If the long hair is in fact his, then call me impressed!

  6. No, it was definitely his own hair. if you look at the personal appearances he made as himself during that time, his hair was cut in that style, not as a crew-cut.

  7. Great blog. You're doing important work here. Thanks for featuring my book.

    Robert Schnakenberg
    Author, The Encyclopedia Shatnerica

  8. Koenig wore a wig even during TOS, but that was more because they wanted to give him a Beatles hairstyle to appeal to a younger audience.