Baldness is inevitable. The American Hair Loss Association estimates 85 percent of men will experience some form of hair loss by the time they turn 50. But don’t worry. Lots of bald guys have taken one of life’s greatest negatives and turned it into the ultimate positive. These are the people who were as bad and bald as they wanted to be.
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12. Cal Ripken Jr.
The “Iron Man” of the Baltimore Orioles was a legendary player both behind and in front of the baseball, despite the fact that most of the baseballs he went up against had more hair than him. He dominated on defense as a legendary shortstop and turned playing the position into an art form and even had some better than average success in the batter’s box with more than 3,100 hits and 431 home runs in his 20-year career. Of course, he’s best known for beating Lou Gehrig’s long-standing consecutive game record, even by playing through the pain of some serious injuries. Well, at least Gehrig’s got one more thing he can hang over Cal’s head. There is no Cal Ripken’s Disease, is there?
11. Yul Brynner
It took a musical to turn this actor into one of the most badass bald guys in Hollywood. The legendary actor didn’t start shaving his head until his performance in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I,” but from then on, his scalp was a barren wasteland of badass. He used his powers of baldness to play a badass pharaoh in The 10 Commandments, a badass renegade cowboy in The Magnificent Seven and a badass renegade cowboy robot in Westworld and Futureworld. Then, before his death in 1985, he went on national television with an anti-smoking commercial to warn people of the dangers of smoking while he was dying of cancer. Death may have won, but Brenner at least put up a hell of a fight.
10. Telly Savalas
The lollipop-sucking, “Who loves ya baby?”-spouting, street-wise detective didn’t go completely bald his whole life. After he played Pontius Pilate in The Greatest Story Ever Told, he decided to go with the top down, a smart move since he’s one of the best-known bald guys ever to grace the silver and the small screen. He’s best known as TV’s Kojack, the NYC homicide detective who’s smoother and tougher than a top layer of pudding skin, but his career goes well beyond that. He played psychopaths in The Dirty Dozen and Birdman of Alcatraz and even funny guys like in his most ironically titled film The Scalpkillers.
9. James Tolkan
The name might not be familiar, but you would recognize that glimmering bald head even if the sunlight bouncing off of it was burning the juice out of your retinas. That’s because in every movie he’s in, he’s always in someone’s face screaming and threatening them within an inch of their life and usually within less than an inch of their nose. He was the strict slacker-hating principal and Sheriff Strickland in the Back to the Future movies, and the perpetually PO’d Stinger in Top Gun where he ripped Tom Cruise a new one. Tolkan makes that scene in Top Gun twice as fun to watch now that Cruise has turned into a self-righteous know-it-all who thinks aliens and volcanoes are to blame for depression instead of self-image issues and baldness.
8. Michael Jordan
If you have to keep reading after this sentence to understand why the Great One is on this list, then maybe you should read a website that’s more your speed, like the Oxygen Network or the Home Blender Shopping Network. He was, is and always will be the greatest player in the history of the game and it’s not just myself and the rest of the world who believe that. It’s the words of the N.B.F-ing.A. His career, God-like athletic ability, and legendary status in the annals of sports history are so amazing that we’re even willing to look past the crappiness that is Space Jam.
7. Michael Chiklis
When life hands some guys lemons, they whine and cry about it for a little while, then manage to reach down and find their emotional depth, so they can pull themselves back up and make some tepid lemonade. When life handed Chiklis lemons, he took a big bite out of each one and didn’t flinch. The vitamins and minerals in the lemons also cleaned out his liver and gave any potential lyme disease cells a swift kick in the mitochondria. The young actor had to shave his head to look like a 60-year-old man for a play. Unfortunately it didn’t grow back because the greasepaint he used killed the follicles on his head. Instead of lamenting the loss of his protein filament friends, he used his unnatural baldness to play some kick ass guys like Vic Mackey on The Shield, Ben “The Thing” Grimm in Fantastic Four and even Curly in the made-for-TV biopic on The Three Stooges. He would have been higher on the list if Mackey gave Antwon Mitchell a double-fingered eye poke just before he sent him off to prison.
6. Evander Holyfield
It isn’t just the famous biting incident that earns Holyfield a spot on my list. It’s the fact that he fought Tyson before the infamous “Bite Fight” and still had the gumption to get back in the ring with a man who by all accounts has the strength, size and mental capacity of a North American grizzly bear. This bald boxer fought Tyson in 1996 to recover his title. Even though Tyson was the heavy favorite, Holyfield took back the title by putting Tyson on the canvas in 11 rounds. The following year, they met up again for a rematch. Tyson and Holyfield fought clean until Tyson accidentally collided with Holyfield’s head that referee Mills Lane ruled as an unintentional headbutt. Tyson disagreed with the decision and made his feelings known by chewing on Holyfield’s right ear. The fight was almost called off but since Holyfield could still fight, they continued until Tyson bit him again on the other ear. The bite cost Tyson not only the match, but also the chance to have his own line of electric grills. It’s hard to sell kitchen appliances when you’re accused of cannibalism.
5. Samuel L. Jackson
Jackson isn’t just a “bad mother*#$*er” because of his history of badassity in the movies. It started way before he even got his drama agree. Jackson became a big part of the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s and '70s participating in marches, serving in Martin Luther King Junior’s funeral and even taking a college board of trustees hostage to demand equality in the school’s governance and curriculum. Then he went on to have a storied and varied career in stage, television and film where he transferred his badassitude into his acting, giving him the ability to turn Bible verses into sentences that could make your eyes bleed and dumb-sounding lines of dialogue into unholy chants of rage that could make the Earth open up and swallow you whole.
4. George Carlin
So he didn’t collect pieces of clothing from the Playmates he slept with or learnd how to blow up cars with his mind. Carlin’s badassness stems from the crap he took for it having the balls to use his unique mind and sense of humor at a time when you could be arrested for saying something in public and continued to shove it down their throats by picking up where Lenny Bruce left off, which is a fitting description since they were both arrested in the same club where Bruce first got picked up for obscenity. Carlin pushed comedy and humor to the next level with his groundbreaking, anti-establishment routines, one of which got him arrested in Milwaukee for his seven dirty words routine. Now thousands of stand-ups around the world constantly imitate him in the hopes they’ll reach the same level of power and influence in the comedy world. That’s right, Dane Cook, I’m talking to you.
3. Lex Luthor
When it comes to image, Lex could use some better PR. Thanks to his unflinching evil and need to destroy Superman and the Earth in the process, he’s given bald a bad name. But it takes a big pair of brass-plated balls to take on someone who can reverse the rotation of the Earth, and if anyone could create a special brass plated kryptonite cup that can withstand Superman’s mighty foot, Lex is the man to make it. He’s not like typical super villains. He doesn’t have any special supernatural powers or hideous genetic mutations that he uses to form his image. He’s just a cue ball chrome dome with a ton of money. He even has served as President of the United States. He won the seat in the first Lex 2000 issue and took on controversial issues as putting a moratorium on fossil fuels and increasing exploration of new medical and environmental technologies. He also turned an alien invasion to his advantage by not telling anyone it was going to happen and almost destroyed the Earth with an asteroid before the Justice League forced him out of office. But it could have been worse: Sarah Palin could have been his running mate.
2. Benjamin Franklin
Sure he did some cool things like help draft the Declaration of Independence, invent the lightning rod and bifocals and document the history of physics and discovery upon which all of our scientific and democratic ideals are based and so on and so on. He also got more tail than you’ll ever get. Franklin’s love for and by the ladies rank with some of the world’s most well-known athletes, movie stars and playboy billionaires. And not only was his scalp as barren and empty as an African desert, but his waistline went on just as long. Even in his 70s, this fat tub of bald was still a ladies man who could woo the pants off of just about any pretty face, sometimes literally. You could have all the money in the world and still not be as loved and adored by women as he was, especially since your money has his bald head all over it.
1. Sigourney Weaver
It takes a special kind of badass to play Ripley in the Alien movies. Weaver came along at a time in cinema’s history when they weren’t any strong female leads who could kick as much ass as a guy could. Ripley changed the equation for all future sci-fi epics and upped the variable three times with its subsequent sequels. Each time, she would have to kick more ass than before until she could make every ass in the joint run and cower in fear for their very “assistence”. She shaved her head for the third film and this time she has no weapons to contend with, not even a lousy forklift. The only thing she uses are the wits of her and her fellow skinheaded inmates to kick the living acid right out of the aliens’ asses (do they even have asses?).