You may know that Hollywood actor Faran Tahir is currently performing on Pakistani stage for the first time in 39 years; his play Bhai Bhai is not just his directorial debut in his home country but also features his younger brother Ali Tahir as an actor. However, not many know that Faran is part of an elite list of Hollywood actors who continue to shine despite an ‘imperfection’ in the eyes of people from this side of the world – their baldness!
Gone are the days when male actors in Hollywood had to have hair on their head in order to succeed; there was a time when Sean Connery donned a wig to play James Bond in the 60s and the 70s as the producers wanted to be as close to Ian Fleming’s description as possible. Only two established stars during that era – Yul Brynner (The King & I) and Telly Savalas (Kojak) – maintained their exclusivity by being bald, but the list has now grown huge with our very own Faran Tahir carving a place for himself into it. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous Baldies of Hollywood and find out who shares the Top Ten list with one of our very own.
Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart may be the most famous bald actor alive because we have been seeing him since the 1980s when he played the Captain of the Starship Enterprises in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Besides being a talented theater actor who has won numerous awards for his brilliant performances, Patrick Stewart has been prolific when it comes to films as well; he has been part of The X-Men franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Professor X, the Star Trek films as Captain Pichard and feature films like The Conspiracy Theory to name a few.
Who do you think of when the phrase ‘Yippee Ki Yay’ is mentioned to you? If that doesn’t remind you of Bruce Willis in the Greatest Christmas film ever, then you are either lying or haven’t seen Die Hard. In the initial part of his career, Bruce Willis had hair but as he started becoming the superstar he is now, he chose to stay bald and we couldn’t be happier. Since then we have seen him without hair (or with very less hair) in sequels of Die Hard, Unbreakable, Mercury Rising, 12 Monkeys, Last Man Standing, Armageddon and most recently in The Expendables series, The Red series, Death Wish and Glass.
Samuel L Jackson – Marvel
The actor who rose to prominence as the ‘second lead’ in Die Hard With A Vengeance (he had previously worked in Pulp Fiction and Jurassic Park) is now considered as the most bankable actor in Hollywood. Rarely does a film featuring him fails at the Box Office and he continues to grow from an actor to a legend with every passing project. In the next five months, he will appear as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel, Avengers: End Game and Spider-Man: Far From Home and as Shaft in the sequel to the 2000 film of the same name, which shows that he isn’t ready to slow down even at the age of 70.
You have seen him in The Hunger Games as well as Captain America but Stanley Tucci has been around for over 25 years, working relentlessly in films and TV as both an actor and a director. When an accomplished TV actor was shown to imitate Adrian Monk on Monk, they went for Stanley Tucci who proved to be as good as the defective detective and even ended the episode thinking he was in fact ‘the’ detective!
He has played a tough cop on TV (The Shield), played a Superhero in films (Fantastic Four and its sequel), and had a stint as a Good Cop turned Super Villain recently (Gotham) but that doesn’t bother Michael Chiklis who remains popular despite his diverse roles. Unlike other actors of his age bracket (50 and above), he continues to be at ease in both films and TV and even does Voice Overs when needed. His take on Ben Grimm/Thing remains the most popular of his characters and one hopes that he continues to grow like his predecessors who as they went bald, went for roles that complimented their hairstyle, or lack of one.
Nearly everyone who saw Kingsman: The Golden Circle cried in disbelief at the death of Mark Strong’s Merlin and that’s because this vastly popular actor connects with the audience, be it as a protagonist, antagonist or even as a character role that helps the leading man achieve the impossible. Be it his villainous turn in RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes, and Robin Hood or his performances in the ensemble cast films like The Imitation Game, Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Mark Strong has been there, done that. He is considered one of the most handsome British actors and once even dubbed some German dialogues for Daniel Craig during the 90s who went onto become James Bond, a character that would have been Strong’s had he not been bald!
Steven Spielberg cast him in Saving Private Ryan 20 years back and since then, Vin Diesel has gone from strength to strength without any doubt. From becoming the lead of XXX series, Riddick films as well as The Fast & The Furious Franchise. His baldness is what makes him one of the sexiest men alive in the world and he has no plans to don a wig (like he did in Find Me Guilty) because he doesn’t give a damn about his hair. He is not only a bankable star but also an intelligent producer who has taken The Fast & Furious franchise from nothing to something that has broken all records. And yes, he is also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Groot who doesn’t say much but expresses a lot with just one word that he can speak.
Before there was Vin Diesel, there was Jason Statham who represented England in the Commonwealth Games in 1990 as a diver and turned model afterward. After he impressed many as the tough guy in Guy Ritchie’s films, he made a name for himself as an action star playing Frank Martin in The Transporter trilogy after which he became part and parcel of films featuring car chases (The Italian Job) or bank heists (The Bank Job, Parker etc.). After standing his ground in the ensemble The Expendables series, he became part of the Fast and the Furious franchise as Deckard Shaw who became so popular that now his character will be having his own film Hobbs & Shaw, a spin-off of Fast & Furious.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson
And the guy who plays Hobbs is none other than the footballer-turned-wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne The Rock Johnson; at 6 feet 5 inches, the 46-year old star stands taller than the rest in a career that kicked off with The Scorpion King (after a guest appearance in The Mummy Returns). He is mostly cast in action roles where no one can match him, be it a human or an animal. To his credit, The Rock has countless films such as The Rundown, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Hercules, Moana (voice-over), Rampage and Skyscraper while is currently part of the most successful of franchises including The Fast & The Furious, Jumanji and will be seen as Luke Hobbs in Hobbs & Shaw.
Faran Tahir – Escape Plan
And finally, our very own Faran Tahir who has had the chance of working with the best actors in the world. He was part of the ensemble cast in Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Om Puri, Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, Star Trek with Leonard Nimoy, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Eric Bana, and Escape Plan with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones and Vincent D’Onofrio. He has also appeared on US Network in prominent shows such as The West Wing, JAG, 24, Warehouse 13, The Blacklist, How to Get Away with Murder, Prison Break: Resurrection and Scandal.
He famously shaved off his hair to play the master-of-disguise criminal in JAG in 2003 and although the role did make popular as an actor, whenever he decided to grow back his hair, one role or the other hindered his plans and that’s why he has remained bald since. He remains the only actor from the Indian subcontinent to portray Shakespeare’s Richard III and Othello on the Broadway, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that his baldness had a part to play in getting the titular roles!