Friday, October 9, 2009

Shatner's raw head.

William Shatner (right) in the 1976 Columbo episode "Fade in to Murder"

Earlier this week, the entire senior staff of the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies was summoned to an emergency meeting. The meeting took place in the middle of the night; our toupologists had apparently made a huge discovery. For the next few hours, we frantically discussed the implications. Today, we publish our findings.

A series of images from William Shatner's guest stint on Columbo ("Fade in to Murder") back in 1976 appears to show evidence of severe traction alopecia - hairloss caused by prolonged tension and traction placed on the hair follicles. By this time in Bill Shatner's career, the actor had been wearing toupees of various kinds for almost twenty years. Had the methods of fastening - aka weaving - Shats' toupees to his real hair, coupled with the simple strain on the scalp of constantly sweating under a series of wigs damaged Bill Shatner's remaining real hair?

Below are a series of screengrabs from another scene in the episode. Again, the evidence of traction alopecia is very strong. The hairloss is seemingly far too low down on the scalp to account for regular male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia).

Here is a video of the above scene with the area of interest enlarged by 400%:

It is important to note that there could be other reasons for this patchiness of the hair: stress, medication, scarring from a motorcycle accident, another form of alopecia (as an example, Superman actor Christopher Reeve suffered from alopecia areata since he was a teenager, causing bald patches to appear on his head from time to time) or even an unusual manifestation of regular male pattern baldness. But given Bill Shatner's prolonged and constant toupee use, traction alopecia, we believe, is a very likely cause.


  1. A swiss cheese? No, just a bad placed toupee

  2. I've heard women say that they find traction alopecia a very sexy characteristic on a man.

  3. The video is bad on this, but look at 1:32/3 :

    Data is presented without his "hair cap" and then Dr. Crusher hands him his "hair cap". This has GOT to be a quip on Shatner's toupee, but note that it never made the final cut. Was there ... some ... negotiation behind the scenes? This was, after all, the Next Generation movie in which Shatner appeared as Kirk for the last time.

  4. Columbo is about to say: "Hum.. excuse me sir, just one more question... what's the name of your hairdresser? Just to avoid him..."

  5. I shave my head and start living with baldness.