Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Denny for your thoughts...

Of all the extremely important debates that we've had about Bill Shatner's hair, perhaps the one that has elicited the greatest amount of discussions and opinions is: what exactly is Bill Shatner's current "Denny Crane" look? Is it plugs or is it another piece?

"Bill, are you trying to copy my hair?"

But setting aside this debate somewhat, our toupologists have been studying a notable phenomenon at the back of Bill Shatner's head that leads us to some other crucial and equally important questions. The actor's current "Denny Crane" look is usually quite uniform (though it can get a little patchy). But there is an area at the back of the head that stands out in stark contrast to this. At the back, the hair is often longer and a little more unruly.

In observing various images of Bill Shatner's current hair look (from 2000 onwards), this phenomenon is something we've seen again and again...

...uniformity versus a greater degree of freedom.

On numerous occasions, this mysterious area appears to be the only one showing a strong streak of rebellion and independence. Is this Bill Shatner's way of saying that although he is getting older and is settling down a little, that he is still a rebel at heart?

The below image is an example of the slight patchiness we referred to - likely the result of a long day coupled with an aging piece in need of replacement, though some might argue that this is actually indicative of a hair transplant.

But setting aside that debate (just a little)...

...the image also provides yet another example of the mysterious unruly patch of hair at the back.

And above too. So what is it? Is this an area of real hair? We believe it may well be. If so, is it used to harvest hair (seems quite small for that task) for the rest of the head if Bill Shatner has plugs? Or if Bill Shatner wears a piece (we're increasingly inclined to believe he does, though we think he may have tried plugs at some point) then is the area at the back the only place where the piece does not reach?

What about the sides? Why is the hair so uniform there almost right down to the sideburns? If it is a piece - a custom made glue-on membrane covered in hair that lasts for several weeks before being thrown away - then has it been designed to end just by the sideburns at the sides and a little higher at the back, allowing a small patch of real hair to remain?

So many questions (see here for an earlier brief analysis of this sparse patch). Our toupologists clearly still have much work to do...

Bill Shatner in deep thought, possibly about toupees.

UPDATE: A video posted at Bill Shatner's YouTube page shows this very area of hair (and only this area of hair) being combed - what is Shats trying to tell us?


  1. Hey ST - good to have you back.

    Great discussion - if I may add to it (for a change) ...

    If you or someone can find it, a recent pull out from a newspaper Parade (?) had some picture of Mr. Shatner where his hair looked ... well .. his frontal hair looked longer, but you could clearly see his scalp.

    It lead me to wonder if he had plugs at one point, which he supplements with a cheap but light toupee for things like photoshoots?

  2. This is mindblowing... or toupeeblowing

  3. A conventional explanation is that the hair at the back is grown long to hide a strip scar - the strip cut from the scalp from which the hair plugs are harvested. Old tech - normally today a surgeon would use follicle plugs, but if he had a transplant 10 or so years ago, the likely technique.

  4. Is it a toup that looks like a transplant or a transplant that looks like a toup?
    Follicular unit transplanting (strip method) in 2010 is still the preferred technique for largescale mega-sessions where many hairs are being transferred from one section of the head to another in one sitting. it's amazing the large number of follicles that can be harvested from just one strip incision procedure.

  5. Toupee or not toupee!September 30, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    The mighty Shat is messing with our minds. My brain has gone into overload trying to decypher and make sense of the Denny Crane enigma.

    In one of those pictures his hair looks quite gray, yet in others it appears browner. Can you dye hair plugs successfully or is it just different shades of toup! How come the colour blends well all the way to the back of the head, which may be his real hair? Aargh! To quote Scotty, The brain canny take it Captain!

  6. i have a hair transplant like shatner's. Tis a wonderful thing.

  7. Ratty Lost Years PieceSeptember 30, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    You mean patchy in the front and shaggy in the back?

  8. Occam's razor: It's a transplant, and by the candid outdoor photo, very thin on top. His hair, as is common for his age, has gone grey. Therefore, when on TV or in certain public settings, the transplant is augmented by colored sprays and thickeners. (Conventional hair coloring would be too harsh on his scalp.)

    As for the long patch in the back: it's either to cover up a donor area strip, or to cover up his previously documented problems with alopcia.

    But it's definitely a transplant and not a toup! You easily see skin on the top of his head in that outdoor photo.

  9. Toup Sleuth Since 1984October 1, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    Except for the scalp showing, to my eye, Shat's hair evolution is quite similar to Burt Reynolds, at least up until a few years ago... Google some pics to see what I mean. Burt even sported a "TJ Curly" at one time, followed by a "Denny Crane." In the "Denny Crane" years, note the straight line from sideburn to temple along the side of the face for both men (which is unnatural).

    We also never actually see Shat's frontal hairline... it's always combed forward, and there's a thicker ring. You'd think micrografts would allow him to show a little follicle-meets-scalp... or maybe they were inserted at an angle to avoid this.

    Who knows...

  10. Ratty Lost Years PieceOctober 2, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    As the Toup Sleuth notes, Shat's hair is thicker at the front. A patient at Bernstein has a similar post-op phenomenon. I have posted his case notes below. Note how the hair tends to be patchier towards the back. The surgeon's technique would explain the patterns seen in Shat's denim shirt and sunglasses pics.

    "I forward weighted the hair transplant so that in the frontal forelock (an area of about 50cm) I placed 1,250 grafts giving a density of 25 follicular units/cm2. The other 1,086 grafts were placed in the remaining 100cm2. Another trick that I use to give the appearance of more fullness is to place the larger follicular units (those containing 3- and 4- hairs) in the central-forelock area."

    Patient link:

  11. new Shatner interview - Toupee question asked!

    "O.K., one more question. You wear a toupee. We all know it, it’s obvious, but you won’t admit it. How long are you going to hold on to this ruse? Is it a mystery you’ll be taking to your grave?"

    "Probably. But if it’s any consolation, that’s not very long from now."

    i have to say that interviewer is one rude SOB. he kept going with the weight jokes when even the first one was abit out of order. and ended with the toup joke at the end (coward)....i commend Shatner for acting like a total pro in this thing - hell he even compliments the guy on his interviewing after getting insulted several times! that last question reminded me somewhat of the MJ (Most Jerk) radio thing from a while back where shatner POWNED the guy. this Vanity Fair interviewer is lucky shatner has mellowed in his later years...

    what a rude asshole though...

  12. Shatner never PWNED the guy in the MJ interview. If anything, he made a fool of himself by lying and then overreacting. He did much better this time around, though.

  13. i beg to differ my friend...Shatner sounded awesome in the MJ interview...i mean talk about thinking on your feet - who else couldve come up with 'Most Jerk' BANG just like that? i dont think i could but Shatner could. and his chilling prediction at the end about MJs future career prospects - 'people will understand time..'

    it sounded almost like something Kirk would say at the end of an episode...

  14. PHENOMENON: singular
    PHENOMENA: plural.

    Get it right!