Five Baldest Heroes

In 1989, my parents ended their marriage and I tearfully bid farewell to my father as he moved himself out of our apartment. In 2002, I was told that I had a mold allergy so chronic and debilitating that I would likely require regular surgeries throughout the rest of my life. And in 2005, I first started to notice that the part in the middle of my hair was starting to slowly spread wider and wider.

While the ensuing spiral into despair and self-loathing was unavoidable, one of my first acts (after crying myself to sleep, cradling pictures of my younger, more lustrously locked self) was to seek out as much evidence as I could that bald men throughout time had not only succeeded in life but had done so in a way that their virility was in no way challenged or lessened [1].

My main criteria for this list were as follows: it had to be made up of individuals who did all or the majority of their best work while demonstrably bald. So, while the physical deterioration of Stanley Kubrick over the course of his career is a reflection of an oppressively focused attention to his life's mission, he is nonetheless excluded below (plus he made a couple stone-cold masterpieces with a full crown of hair). Also, anyone earning a spot had to do so on the strength of having owned their follicular challenges rather than hiding under a toupee or plugs.

I kept the list to five for the sake of variety. And also because who wants to look at that many disgusting chrome domes?

Honorable Mention:. Sean Connery

                                                    Connery going natural on the set of  You Only Live Twice

                                                    Connery going natural on the set of You Only Live Twice

Connery was bald as a beaked bean the whole time he was playing James Bond. I know this violates the "loud and proud" maxim I laid out above (which is why I give it an "Honorable Mention" instead of placing, so back off), but I nonetheless think it qualifies due to the fact that, while the production company wasn't particularly keen on having the world's most desired super-spy snapped with pate exposed, Connery himself doesn't seem to have given much of a care [2].

Leonardo Da Vinci

                                                 He probably drew the hair that long in order to compensate.

                                                 He probably drew the hair that long in order to compensate.

Perhaps the greatest mind, artistic or otherwise, of all time. Which should probably be enough to satisfy the charge of this list in and of itself, but I believe just as strongly in padding content as I do in never settling for the bare minimum, so...

Georges Melies

                                                       Also a finalist for my Most Influential Facial Hairs post.

                                                       Also a finalist for my Most Influential Facial Hairs post.

One of the absolute most significant figures in the development of motion picture storytelling as we understand it today, this magician-turned-special-effects-pioneer made hundreds of films in his lifetime, including the influential A Trip to the Moon (as well as what is largely agreed to be the first porno), and was on the verge of being forgotten entirely by history, working in obscurity in a Parisian train station until his past accomplishments began to be re-discovered and re-introduced to the public. Martin Scorsese later re-introduced him to audiences yet again via his beautiful children's film Hugo.

Louis CK

                                    I need to be friends with Louis, If only so that I can get at that breakfast plate.

                                    I need to be friends with Louis, If only so that I can get at that breakfast plate.

I've long since accepted the fact that, when people tell me that I remind them of the multi-multi-hyphenate, they are referring more to my physique than to my cutting, brutal, yet completely honest and hilarious lacerations of social conventions and self-image. While CK's self-deprecating style is certainly in tune with the concept of comedy as a means of creatively expressing some of our own personal demons, it is also a means of establishing a zone of intimacy and comfort within which he is free to address the darker, yet no less relatable, feelings and impulses within us all.

Luis Bunuel

                                                      Gaze deep into the googly eyes of an absolute genius

                                                      Gaze deep into the googly eyes of an absolute genius

I'm currently envisioning what promises to be an overlong, over-written gush fest on why Luis Bunuel is pretty much the best, so I'll keep that all to a minimum here. Suffice to say that he's one of the all-time greats, and that if I were forced to put together a list of my all-time top artistic influences (a list that may or may not be forthcoming, as I mentally scramble to decide who the other nine would be), he would reside firmly in the upper half. Bunuel had the kind of frequently-interrupted yet decades-spanning career that marks a man of supreme passion and imaginative fervor. Every one of his periods would be an enviable life's filmography.

Robert Altman

This picture of Altman on the set of 3 Women very keenly demonstrates a lot of the reasons why the 70s were        indeed the greatest cinematic decade

This picture of Altman on the set of 3 Women very keenly demonstrates a lot of the reasons why the 70s were        indeed the greatest cinematic decade

Genetics and lifestyle choices are effectively conspiring to ensure that I approximate Altman's general look once I hit middle age (by which I of course mean 32). I'm working as hard as I can to make sure that my talent and the quality of my creative output maintain pace as well. Beyond that, Altman in a lot of ways represents the ideal of a life very richly lived - constantly working within the company of devoted friends, family, and colleagues right up until his death in 2006.

Feel free to fill me in on your favorite balds in the comments below. Or, if you prefer, you may focus obsessively on one minor physical trait of your own and design an entire list around it.

- cs

[1] And by the way, the root* cause of baldness is in fact an excess of testosterone, thank you very much.

* See what I did there?

[2] Connery could also qualify for another potential list entitled "The Top Most Obvious to Everyone Else But Completely Inconspicuous To Me Toupees." See Shatner, William and Letterman, David.