Monday, December 7, 2009

Too close to call? - A contrarian view.

We were going to move on to other areas of toupology today, but we feel that the debate that raged in the previous post is difficult to ignore. Previously, we stated our belief (we attempt to be scientific here and try our best to avoid stating as fact things we don't know beyond a reasonable doubt - though in this case erred on that front on several occasions) that Bill Shatner had had a hair transplant in 2000. But there is a convincing contrarian view - and one that merits closer attention. This view is that in 2000, Bill Shatner, rather than getting plugs, merely switched to a different kind of hairpiece or hair system - the phrasing is unimportant.

One anonymous poster (we really do plead for you to use usernames, which are just as anonymous but merely give you a name so we don't have to call people "anonymous") wrote:

"I am very familiar with the hair piece Mr. Shatner is wearing. It is designed to be worn only once. They call it the "Saturday Night Special" The hair strands are inserted (no knots) into a very fine membrane which requires glue to adhere to the scalp. The membrane is as fine as a fly's wings. Transparent to the eye. Once the hair piece is removed, it must be discarded. Lasts approximately 3-4 weeks."

From a purely juristic sense, we have to ignore the first sentence. But the rest is very interesting.

Here is the main overriding argument for a toupee: There is simply too much hair on Bill Shatner's head to have come from his own head.

This remains a valid argument. In our previous post, we argued that a transplant could overcome that. However, upon closer examination of numerous Shatner images, we noticed that the hair on Bill Shatner's head remains suspiciously thick far more often than it is as thin as this:

The contrarian argument would suggest that the above was a rare ratty toupee.

Yet, there is also something unusual going on at the back - evidence of a patch of slightly longer hair. This would again point to the transplant theory - a harvesting area in which the hair is grown a little longer to hide the patches.

Or could it be both? A third option? Does Bill Shatner wear a toupee that is made from his own hair? This would (kind of) enable him to claim that he doesn't wear a toupee anymore.

We posted this extract as an update in our last post, and are interested in your thoughts:

" 'And no, it isn't a toupée,' [Shatner] says, tugging his hair." See here for more from this interview.

If it is a toup, then Bill Shatner was simply lying point-blank. Or was he parsing words like hair piece with hair system? Yet, so much of Bill Shatner's public and increasingly confident toupee jocularity (for example this and this) has seemed to stem from the post-2000 era in which the toupee was but a thing of the past. Could it all be an illusion? Is it just another toupee? Is Bill Shatner screwing with our minds?

There is another issue too. The times that we know that Bill Shatner is wearing a piece:

Is there really room up there to place a piece over plugs (yes)? That would likely make the scalp invisible.

Truth is, we don't really know - we find arguments from both sides to be persuasive on many points. Yet, we have decided that there is now enough reasonable doubt about the plugs to avoid stating them as being fact.

We do know that post-2000 Bill Shatner still wears a piece. But the real question is and remains, whether he has also had surgery. Like you, we are eager to solve this mystery.

UPDATE: See out Katz story for more info.


  1. I think it is a transplant enhanced with a Toppik-like application. The photos at their website are no exaggeration, as I've seen this product up-close and in person. It does work.

    As the first bit of evidence, I'd point to this photo of Shat bumpin' noses with Spader. Look at the spot just behind the area of scalp that is exposed (perpendicular to the back of the ear). Is that area unnaturally dark? It certainly isn't because the hair is thick in that spot. Rather, the scalp has been colored to give the illusion there is more hair than actually exists. Why, if he is wearing a toupee in that pic, would the base be colored? Easier to just have the toupee's hair thick to begin with than using Toppik on top of a toupee.

    As the second bit of evidence, I'd point to this pic of Shatner at the LA Equestrian Center. Look at the area just behind the frontal hair line where the scalp is exposed. If you zoom in, you can see the scars from hair transplant surgery. Also, the hair texture is markedly different from what a toupee will have and it is characteristic of hair transplants.

    One reason the patients on the Bernstein site don't quite have the impressive hair of the Shat is they aren't allowed to use any aids like Toppik (or else it would be false advertising). Those individuals' hair is certainly not all that inferior to what Shatner displays at the LA Equestrian Center.

    I'm still sticking to my belief that Shat had hair transplants performed when he was still in his 60's.(both FUE and FUT type). let's not forget the lateral scar that was visible at the back. There are probably more of those that are covered up by the longer hair he wears in that area.

    1. William Shatner used to get his pieces from Don Jeffries who is now retired. He also got some from Edward Katz who copied Don Jeffries' product and application method. Shatner lost his hair young. Look at his first roles. Shatner is not a hair transplant candidate because he has such severe hair loss. Only the hair in the very back is his.

  2. Also, I don't understand the claim that a person would wear such a toupee for 3-4 weeks without taking it off. That sounds very unsanitary. toupees should be worn for a maximum of a few days and then removed to wash the scalp and surrounding hair.

  3. No I'm convinced by the toup theory now. He has been and always shall be...the bearer of the toup...!

  4. RM your arguments regarding a transplant performed when Shat was in his 60's is possible. It is possible that he wore a full hairpiece to conceal this fact when required.The proof will be when more photos come out revealing a new hairline, different density (more hair)and new texture. A transplant would not radically change over time (especially for the better).
    With respect to wearing the piece for extended periods of time, this is entirely possible, especially for the type of unit Shatner can afford. The Shatner piece can be managed like real hair. The base "breaths" and can be shampooed and conditioned. The darker strands of hair are indeed real hair. His white hairs are yak hair (very similar to white human hair). I even know of individuals with conventional all lace toups who can wear them for 2-3 weeks at a time. I too wear an all lace toup. The base becomes invisible on my scalp.

  5. Could it not be a bespoke merkin? The hair now looks short, grey and prickly. To me, that suggests he's moving hair from six o'clock to twelve o'clock, to put it politely. My money is on the merkin.

  6. Thsi is getting way too confused.. but I think that the plugs are for relaxed occasions.. and the toupee for more profissionals ones..

  7. So 'Shatner Unplugged' would be Shatner Uptight? That's even more confusing. I am intrigued by the merkin idea. This could be a hairy hybrid, a sort of head-sized merkin.

  8. @Helen Bach. Brilliant phrase. Will Bill Shatner's first ever toupee-less music album be called "Shatner Unplugged" - that would be a great title.


  9. That would be so like Shatner to have his pubes transplanted to the top of his head.

  10. I remember when Shatner hosted the Miss USA contest in March, 2001. A very perceptive lady I knew stated at the time that he wasn't wearing a toupee (and she did acknowledge his horrendous previous toupees). That fits in pretty well with the timeline that's been established on this site.
    Another reason to suspect plugs is that at the Equestrian Center photos his hair is grey/white. There would be no reason to wear a toup that gray if he wasn't playing a role in a production. It was those photos that finally convinced me he had transplants done. If that is a toup, it is one that is far worse in quality than any he ever wore before or since.

  11. It IS a merkin: "The needs of the heady outweigh the needs of the pubes".

  12. The merkin notion is on the right lines. I think that Mr Shatner actually had a 'pubemectomy,' which involves careful redistribution of personal follicles from the nether regions to the scalpal area, where they are woven in and subjected to a rigorous session of jojoba-based conditioning. Should the pubical planting take root, this provides the owner with something that is not a wig but merely a relocated pube patch. It allows said wearer to go on to live a far more confident life, with the only side-effect being an instinctive wariness of scratching his head in polite company.

  13. Ratty Lost Years PieceDecember 9, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    Amandino's quote, "I too wear an all lace toup," inspired this quick, informal survey.

    How many ST readers experiencing hair loss would:
    -Toup up
    -Get plugs
    -Don a merkin
    -That's a stupid question by a stupid person.

  14. A merkin, every time. You know where it's come from, those hairs are practically indestructable and it would make your ears prick up.

  15. If you can get past his belly, magnification of this recent side shot of Shatner's head should put this all to rest.

    Toup on top with an actual hairline that starts 3 inches below it. Combing usually bridges the gap. "Captain on the bridge."

    Toupologists, start your analysis!

  16. Great site!

    Regarding this picture

    I have known people that have had transplants, and one common theme I see is patterns. Both in where the doctors remove the donor hair, and where they attach it. I bet every doctor has his own style of pattern. If you look at this photo, you can see the patterns in which the transplants went down. It looks like a V shaped hairline was created with a center line running down to the back of the head and another from ear to ear. This created 4 small voids that appear to be filled in with lesser amount of hair follicles.

  17. The Shat still wears a piece all of the time -- you're right - he just switched to a different type in 2000. He gets his toups now from Edward Katz -- check out -- Mr. Katz is wearing a toup that's almost exactly like what the Shat is wearing.

    Also, check out

    Edward Katz donates to Shatner's horse show -- that's no coincidence!

    1. You are correct. There is more information here about William Shatner and Edward Katz. I used to run the Katz salon and ended up suing him.

  18. Sorry, TMK, but this issue has been settled. Shatner has had major hair transplants but will still wear toupees sometimes for professional work. besides, shatner isn't even listed on katz's website as a satisfied customer.

  19. Katz is known for his discretion. Plus his toups are not lace-front --- see (actually the whole interview with Katz is quite interesting) -- this explains why the Shat's current hairstyle always has his hairline obscured.

  20. that's some good detective work, TMK, and I'll believe that Shat does go to this guy for his present-day toups. I could tell Katz was wearing a toupee by looking at the hairline on the left side of his head (the viewer's right). However, I don't yet believe Shat wears these pieces all the time. It's tough to believe that katz would make a toup so scraggly and patchy as in some of the pics on this thread.

  21. We'll be looking at "tmk's" detective work in our next post on Tuesday! Stay tuned! Thanks -ST

  22. Awesome! Another thing is that I know someone (my uncle) who actually got a toup from Katz. Apparently, one of Katz's major selling points is that you can see the scalp through the toup - this makes the toup look more natural. In order to get this look, everyone who gets a toup from Katz needs to shave his head, or at least the parts of his head that is covered by the toup.

    Also, the toups are not meant to be taken on and off daily -- it's more like a hair system that's glued on for days at a time.

    1. I ran the Katz salon for a while. The reason we shaved the head was because (1) the base is see through. You would see the hair laid down underneath the piece. (2) we used silicone to glue the piece to the scalp. When you finally pull it off after 30 days it's like industrial strength waxing. You'll pull all the hair out if you didn't shave it. (3) it adheres better to the scalp alone. (4) the scalp needs to breath through the base of the piece. If there is hair there, it won't be able to breathe and get disgusting quickly.(5) Shatner has never been a candidate for plugs or flaps. He's missing 90% of his hair.

  23. But who knows - maybe for celebrities like the Shat, Katz is more flexible in his requirements.

  24. Yes, this all makes senseI, think the mystery is solv-ed, finally!!

  25. Josh Lang Burning BrightNovember 16, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Excellent stuff, all - easily the most hypnotic Shatner site of all time.

    And congratultaions Mr Shatner - even at 79, you still rule.

    Awesome investigative work from TMK - colour me impressed.

    Another peerless pop culture icon and pioneer in the field of quality hair replacement - the Bandit himself, Mr Burt Reynolds - has clearly had some extensive dealings with Ed Katz's crack team of hair reconstruction experts.

    Mr Reynolds has, of course, always been very open about his need for follicular support. Here's an excerpt from an article on Burt's 1996 bankruptcy filing:

    Burt Reynolds filed for bankruptcy in 1996, listing assets valued over $6,000,000, including his dog ($500.00) and Real Property ($6,045,000) and liabilities totaling over $12,000,000, including Edward Katz Hair Design ($121,796.62) and CBS Studio Center ($9,802.82).

    The original piece can be found here:

  26. shats real syrupJuly 20, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I think that I may have found the toup, that Bill is wearing. (I now believe it is a toup) basically he is wearing what he always has. (from the age of 27-8) a toup.

    Let me please explain: simply it appears that the toupee he is wearing is called a Micro lite it has an very thin base, and shows a scalpit is widely used in film and stage work, as it looks so good it is even made of the best touplon fibre. (that was no joke as it said that on the website) you can even have it permanantly bonded for an extra £50. I saw this on a uk site, i am sure they have this toup everywhere, and its not even that expensive....£399 plus vat uk price. I could have got it wrong for sure, but it looks interesting.

  27. Thanks for this Love to know this hair transplant is great