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Reporter: Surely they would have cured baldness by the 24th century.

Gene Roddenberry: In the 24th century, they wouldn't care.
—At the opening of Star Trek the Next Generation

Baldness is usually implemented by television and film writers as a sign of premature aging, poor morality, or just general weakness. But occasionally, baldness instead indicates just how awesome a character is, usually representing leadership or over-the-top manliness. Bald Black Leader Guy is a popular subtrope since, for some reason, black men in leadership positions are almost always bald in fiction. Contrast with Bald of Evil. In the spirit of not spinning off into ridiculous over-troping, this includes men and women who voluntarily shave their heads.

Not to be confused with Bold of Awesome. Contrast Badass Long Hair and also Bald of Evil. See also Perma Shave.

Examples of Bald of Awesome include:


Anime and Manga

 Umibozu: Looks like I've gone soft...

Gintoki: No... your hair too.

Umibozu: To think I'd fall protecting others.

Comic Books

  • Lex Luthor from Superman is most often made bald. Some stories link his hatred of Superman to him losing his hair, but mostly, it just makes him that much more awesome when he goes into a Slouch of Villainy.
  • Professor Xavier from X-Men. The animated shows and Live Action movies also give him such a deep, penetrating voice that this wheel-chair bound man commands the respect of everyone. For major bonus, he's played by Patrick Stewart himself in the movies.
  • The Martian Manhunter.
  • Crispus Allen, one of the stars of the Batman comic Gotham Central, is one of the best cops of the Major Crimes Unit of the GCPD - he is insightful, level-headed, a good father, and just Too Cool to Live. He is so Badass that he becomes The Spectre after his death.
  • Luke Cage, Hero for Hire - Luke Cage and Ultimate Nick Fury definitely qualify. Recently, the Marvel universe has started to really like this trope. Heck, I'm pretty sure the Young Avengers picked their leader based on it. (Not that Patriot's not a good leader, it's just there was no evidence for it before he was chosen, other than his baldness.)
  • Silver Surfer.
  • Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan.
  • Tank Girl - the title character's haircut tend to change often, but one of her most common was a mostly shaven head with a few randomly colored locks.
  • Suske en Wiske (Spike and Suzy): Lambik, while the character changed over the years, his baldness remained one of the key parts of his appearance and has been used as an element to drive the plot forward in a couple of issues. Lambik played the role of the heroic father figure in a number of albums. In "Het geheim van de gladiatoren" (The secret of the gladiators), "De schat van Beersel" (The treasure of Beersel), and "De tartaarse helm" (The Tartar Helmet), he's depicted as an expert swordsman. These are known as the Blue Cover Series, as opposed to the Red Cover Series.
  • Grant Morrison: the god of comics (he's a comic book character at the end of Animal Man).
  • Nick Knatterton, detective hero of German comic strips.
  • Dwight from Sin City fits this at first, but he later grows his hair out when he is wanted for murder.
  • Martha Washington sports one after the first Give Me Liberty series.
  • Plourr Illo, in the X Wing Series comics, at least until her arc. In said arc she starts growing it out, and in later comics she has a very short, boyish cut.
  • King Mob of The Incisibles, is a bald super spy with psychic powers


Fanworks

  • Harry Potter - the Shoebox Project incarnation of Kingsley Shacklebolt is described as having a "shiny bald head full of brains." He is also described as the most awesome person possibly to have ever existed...in one of the Halloween chapters, there is a brief foray into his point of view, and it is revealed that he has always seen himself as more of a force of nature than an actual person.
  • As in the film of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Rodney Skinner has this in The Private Diary Of Elizabeth Quatermain. It's eventually revealed that (in the fic at least) he actually is not bald, but shaves his head to make it easier to apply his greasepaint when he wants to be seen.


Film

  • Often, Samuel L. Jackson. Notably, as Mace Windu in Star Wars -- although the awesomeness of this is debatable, as many regard the prequel trilogy as less than awesome. The less-than-awesomeness of the prequels is still not enough to quell Mace Windu's Bald of Awesome. It's that good.
  • Bruce Willis in, you know, whatever.
  • Yul Brynner, also.
  • Vin Diesel seems to be a reverse Samson - he loses most of his badass factor when he doesn't have a shaven head. He re-shaves it in character during Pitch Black just to keep this up.
  • Jason Statham. Sometimes, he has a bit of hair, but it's always very short.
  • Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien 3.
  • G.I. Jane -- the titular character.
  • Pete Postlethwaite's T-Rex hunting character in Jurassic Park 2. Also, his Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass monk, Brother Gilbert, in Dragonheart.
  • Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) from The Matrix.
  • Lee Van Cleef.
  • Inverted in Every Which Way You Can where the Black Widow motorcycle gang appear totally ridiculous after losing their hair in an asphalt spray. But that might have something to do with the fact that they're wearing silly wigs to compensate -- two highway patrolmen break down laughing rather than arrest them, much to their leader's fury.
  • Takashi Shimura takes this to extremes in Seven Samurai as ronin Kambei Shimada, who is first seen shaving his head as part of a ploy to rescue a child. In his era, it would have been considered dishonorable for someone of the samurai class to shave his head, even to save a peasant. His baldness shows that he places morality above his social standing. Even so, he's clearly a little uncomfortable being bald, and spends the rest of the film absently rubbing his stubbled scalp.
  • Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta seems to take a few levels in badass after her head is (forcibly) shaved. The fact that her real hair was shaved off on camera makes it even more badass. According to Natalie herself, she had actually been looking forward to having her head shaved.
  • Rodney Skinner, the invisible man in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
  • Gru from Despicable Me. He would later dodge five missiles like it was nothing and Offhand Backhand a shark to get to his adopted children after Vector had kidnapped them.
  • The Expendables, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and, of course, Bruce Willis. Terry Crews even shows off his badass razor.
  • Frank Barnes in Unstoppable.
  • John Travolta in From Paris with Love.
  • Straddling the line between this and Bald of Evil, the leader of the Crazy 88 from Kill Bill, Johnny Mo, manages to last fairly long against the Bride.
  • The prisoner in The Dark Knight who throws the detonator into the bay.
  • Denton Van Zan in Reign of Fire.
  • Charlie Bronson, England's most expensive inmate, in Bronson, based on the real life criminal. The film presents him as the antihero in his story, though some would probably consider the real man Bald of Evil.


Literature


Live Action TV

  • Mephisto of Double the Fist, though he is more like Balding of Awesome.
  • Detective Vic Mackey from The Shield.
  • Keith Mars from Veronica Mars.
  • Kojak, the eponymous character.
  • Walter Skinner from The X-Files, in spades.
  • The Haitian from Heroes.
  • White Collar has Mozzie. Short? Check. Balding? Check. Thick Glasses? Check. Paranoid as heck? Check. Awesome? Heck yeah!
    • He doesn't seem very awesome at first, but as the series goes on, he proves his cunning, bravery and loyalty more than once.
  • Patrick Stewart, as stated above. During Star Trek the Next Generation, he had a certain sex symbol status almost, because of it. He actually lost hair by the time he was 21, so most people haven't ever seen him with a full head of hair. He actually used it to his advantage by audition twice, once while wearing a wig and impressing people with his versatility.
    • Character Development: he was at first ashamed of it and tried to hide it with an absurd comb over (exacerbated by how long his hair was) until his friends grabbed him, sheared him, and told him to grow up. Then he Took A Level In Bald.
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Ben Sisko, of course. And he grew a beard into the bargain, both of which can be taken as a nod to Avery Brooks's earlier role as Hawk in the Spenser For Hire TV series and its short-lived spinoff, A Man Called Hawk.

    He shaved his head because, at the time, he did a couple of Spencer For Hire reunion TV movies. He couldn't regrow it in time before taping Deep Space Nine's next season, so he just introduced the look to Sisko. Which caused problems in the beginning, as the producers required Avery Brooks to have some hair for the first season, until the character was established. They specifically did this so he wouldn't look like his earlier character.
  • And The Doctor from Star Trek Voyager, Robert Picardo. Even he noticed the coincidence between Stewart's character and his last name, but hey, "if Picard can baldly go where no one has gone before, so can a Picardo."
  • Sebastian from Pit Boss, despite being a little person, can hit well above his weight class when needed; he wrestled in high school and works out constantly to stay in shape, and has proven himself more than capable of holding his own when things get rough.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad, a chemistry teacher who turns to cooking meth when he's diagnosed with cancer. When the chemotherapy starts making his hair fall out, he shaves it off. Never did I think that the dad from Malcolm in the Middle could look hardcore, but damn - the first words his son says in the face of the new look are "Badass, Dad." Now he's got an evil goatee to go with it, too. Also, Hank and Mike the fixer, both bald and awesome.
    • Walter (and Mike) could qualify under Bald of Evil, considering what they've done and continue to do.
    • Also, the show is swarming with bald people for some reason, each with varying degrees of awesome.
  • Saul Tigh from Battlestar Galactica (RDM) is an on-again, off-again example. While he regularly visits all segments of the personality spectrum save outright, unmitigated evil, when he does get into bad-assery mode, he does it spectacularly.
  • Flashpoint - SRU officers Ed Lane and Gregory Parker from the Canadian crime drama.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • Teal'c. Although he grew short-cropped hair in later seasons.
    • General Hammond, who's still awesome.
    • And also Bra'tac, who wore a steel skull cap.
    • Even Apophis pulled this one off.
    • Jacob.
    • From Atlantis, Colonel Steven Caldwell.
  • A rare female example occurs with Zhaan from Farscape.
  • Nearly every man in Prison Break qualifies for this trope, or comes very, very close.
    • Brad Bellick can slide across the full spectrum of bald tropes almost instantly, effortlessly moving from this to looking like a weak buffoon, to full-on Bald of Evil.
    • Mahone is awesome, though he only counts as Balding Of Awesome.
  • Captain Cragen from Law and Order SVU.
  • Michael Alfredo Garibaldi, gruff security chief of Babylon 5. Started out as an on/off alcoholic with half a head full of hair, then, in later seasons, shaved it and became bald and Badass. But still a latent alcoholic. - Named for Giuseppe Garibaldi, the famous 19th century Italian guerrilla fighter, and not as a pun on "bald". A returning character hung a lampshade on it by asking; 'So, what happened to your hair?'
    • G'Kar counts, too. G'Kar is just awesome all by himself.
    • Lennier doesn't count, because Minbari do not have hair on their heads (although the men may grow beards).
    • Galen, Elric, and many other technomages. Galen, especially, as he is the only one capable of creating a powerful Sphere of Destruction, which he once used (in an Expanded Universe novel) to level an entire city and destroy five enemy ships, one of which was a Shadow battlecrab.
  • Jamie Hyneman (and occasionally Adam Savage) of Myth Busters
    • He once lit a match on his head. One might think it was fake, but knowing Jamie...
  • Red Forman in That 70s Show, dumbass!
  • Sgt James Doakes of Dexter.
  • Tom Colicchio of Top Chef. One gay contestant commented on the show that he is an icon in the gay bear community.
  • Captain Steubing of The Love Boat, as played by Gavin McLeod. In one episode, he's upset because the ship is going to have a costume ball and he can't think of any bald character he'd like to dress up as. In the triumphal conclusion of that plot, he enters as Yul Brynner in "The King and I".
  • Tony Scali from The Commish.
  • Power Rangers' Zordon.
  • Japanese comedian and TV personality Hitoshi Matsumoto (best known for Gaki no Tsukai Ya Arahende) first shaved his head in 1998. He decided that he preferred the buzzcut look and has kept his hair very tightly trimmed ever since.
  • Lou Grant of Lou Grant and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • During one of the endless Real World/Road Rules challenges, contestant Diem Brown recently went through a battle with ovarian cancer and was nearly bald after chemotherapy. She had been wearing wigs nonstop to hide this, until a challenge in mud. She couldn't get the wig wet, so she had to either forfeit or take off her wig on national TV. She did. It was incredibly traumatic for her, but everybody else thought she looked absolutely incredible (one contestant said she looked like a Russian secret agent).
  • John Locke on Lost was both Bald and, arguably, the most Badass character on the Island. Locke is an interesting case as flashbacks in which he has hair (albeit noticeably receeding) are brutally cruel and his character becomes far more confident as he loses more hair, eventually becoming the hairless determinator we all know and love.
  • Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden from JAG - unlike the previous desk-jockeys who headed JAG HQ, this old, bald Navy SEAL wasn't afraid to get out into the field and kick ass when needed. And he was a top-notch legal mind who once was considered for a seat on the federal bench.


Newspaper Comics


Professional Wrestling


Tabletop Games

  • The Munchkin Player's Guide gives you a + 1 bonus to strength if you're bald, since your body isn't wasting energy on hair. To be fair, it gives bonuses on every other hair choice as well, with about the same level of justification. (Long hair gives a bonus to strength too, since "it worked for Samson.")
  • Many space marines in Warhammer 40000, though some prefer scalp locks, especially the Mongol-themed White Scars.
    • A great deal of Space Marines from any chapter that isn't Space Wolves (who are practically hairballs by comparison) are bald or have rather little hair by comparison. However, it should be noted that it isn't a rule that every codex space marine should be bald. A good example of this can be found in Dawn of War 2, where Cyrus actually has pretty much hair by comparison to most other space marines. An argument can be made, however, that many space marines have little to no hair out of convenience.
  • Sajan the monk. Behold!


Theater

  • Blue Man Group, to signify both innocence and coolness; the creators cited the comic book character the Silver Surfer as an inspiration here.
  • Yul Brynner anywhere


Video Games

Web Animation


Web Comics

  • The bald men from Order of the Stick, Roy, Durkon, and O-Chul, among others, seem to be the most kick-ass characters in the comic.
  • Wheels of Magical Misfits.
  • Need a guy with a shaven head to blow up a starship with an epaulet? Call Kevyn Andreyasn from Schlock Mercenary.
  • Severus and Krin from Servants of the Imperium, Severus is an Imperial Inquisitor and Krin is a bountyhunter, and both are awesome.
  • Qin Xu from Last Res0rt keeps most of his head bald -- although the long, winding Queue makes up for it. We get to see a nice flashback of his early days as a vampire with a short, spiky haircut, though.
  • Peregrine of Voices.
  • Most of the main characters from Goblins.
  • Luthor from Unintentionally Pretentious.
  • Wayward Sons: Haydez.


Web Original


Western Animation

Real Life

  • Admiral Thad Allen, USCG.
  • Raoul Wallenberg.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • UFC Champion, Anderson 'The Spider' Silva.
  • Stirling Moss.
  • Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama.
  • Basically, half of all Russian leaders. Special mention goes to Mikhail Gorbachev, who even gets to show off the birth mark on his bald head. Russian leaders alternate between bald and haired, and this pattern even transcends regimes and dynasties, as it could be traced uninterrupted to at least Alexander II. At this point, it's something of a tradition-come-superstition in Russia and looks to be kept up for the foreseeable future.

    Here's the list: Alexander I--balding - before that, it was hard to tell, as Paul I and Peter III wore wigs; Nicholas I--bald(ing); Tsar Alexander II--not bald; Tsar Alexander III--bald; Tsar Nicholas II--not bald; Count Lvov--bald; Alexander Kerensky--not bald; Vladimir Lenin--bald; Josef Stalin--not bald; Lavrentiy Beria--bald; Georgy Malenkov--not bald; Nikita Khruschev--baldest leader ever; Leonid Brezhnev--not bald; Yuri Andropov--bald(ing); Konstantin Chernenko--not bald; Mikhail Gorbachev--bald; Boris Yeltsin--not bald; Vladimir Putin--pretty thin up top; and Dmitry Medvedev, who has a full head of hair. So you have Nicholas I through Nicholas II of the Russian Empire, Lvov and Kerensky of the provisional government, Lenin through Gorbachev of the Soviet Union (including two blips between Stalin and Khrushchev)), and the presidents of the Russian Federation.
  • Quite a few Special Forces men prefer to shave their heads bald due to convenience, making this Truth In Television.
  • Alex Roy, aka 'Mr Team Polizei'.
  • Heavy Metal is a genre with plenty of these cases:
  • Joe Satriani.
  • Billy Corgan
  • Doctor Steel.
  • Black Francis of The Pixies.
  • Jeff Gorndt from WeGame.com. His awesomeness is debatable. His baldness, however, is not.
  • John A. MacDonald, first Prime Minister of Canada.
    • That's Sir John A. to you, thank you very much.
  • Steve Karl-Heinz Bender from the Hungarian-German group Dschinghis Khan. Lots of comments in the Youtube clips featuring the band are about how awesome "the bald guy" is. RIP, Herr Bauer (he died in 2006).
  • Gaius Julius Caesar was bald by his thirties, yet was one of the most successful generals, writers, and politicians of Ancient Rome.
    • However, instead of embracing his baldness, he was very ashamed about it and tried to cover it as much as possible, being the vain man he was. Hence the laurel wreath he always wore.
  • Older Than Feudalism example: Aristophanes wrote lots of satirical comedies that were Da Bomb in Ancient Greece, and in The Knights, he hung a lampshade on his own lack of hair by having the chorus chant at some point: "and the poet may withdraw proud of his success, with head erect and his forehead beaming with delight."
  • Michael Chiklis, compare him in The Commish and then The Shield. He apparently Took a Level In Badass just by shaving his head.
    • Chiklis says he lost his ability to grow hair after a make-up related incident.
  • Ed Harris. His practical approach to balding (no styling to speak of, just his remaining hair cut very short) was actually praised by Men's Health Magazine as the correct way to be bald with dignity.
  • Older Than Feudalism example, and perhaps the Trope Starter: Elisha. A few days after he witnessed Elijah, his predecessor, go to Heaven in a literal chariot of fire, a bunch of young punks all were telling him "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned to look at them, called down a curse on them, and next thing they knew, a couple of bears mauled 42 of them. This was his first week of many years of awesome.
  • French social historian and philosopher Michel Foucault. When Foucault took on Noam Chomsky in a televised debate in 1971, the dome alone made it instantly clear Chomsky never stood a chance.
  • Kyle Hebert, the voice actor behind Sosuke Aizen, Gohan, Kamina, Kiba Inuzuka, Ryu, and others. He even has a podcast called "Big Bald Broadcast".
  • Rob Rainford from Licence To Grill. He is ONE LEAN MEAN GRILLING MACHINE!
  • Tupac Shakur.
  • Samuel L. Jackson gets mentioned twice. He's equally bald (and awesome) in real life and movies.
  • George Carlin, as he got older.
    • Carlin actualy spared a few characteristically caustic words for white men trying to achieve this trope, saying they looked like a freshly circumsized dickhead and that they should do what he did: wait a while.
  • David Cross.
  • Jackie Earle Haley.
  • Chaos Mage/comic book writer Grant Morrison.
  • Peter Bergman, from the Firesign Theatre.
  • Patrick Stewart, as himself.
    • Even the bleeding Oxford Companion to Shakespeare describes him as "the balding Yorkshireman."
    • His bald is so awesome that he became the living incarnation of awesome baldness in both science fiction and fantasy. Without trying. For half of it.
  • Humberto "Chupete" Suazo, Chilean soccer player and top scorer in the South American classifying stages for the 2010 World Cup.
  • Harry Hill.
  • Hunter S. Thompson, especially when, while running for sheriff of Pitkin County, he shaved off his remaining hair and mocked the crewcut front-runner as "my long-haired opponent".
  • The Chessmaster + Bald of Awesome + Badass Moustache = Otto Von Bismarck
  • Bob Mould, former Husker Du guitarist and Daily Show theme song writer
  • Dwight Eisenhower.
  • Per Albin Hansson, Swedish prime minister 1933-46; in reality, far more badass than his Wikipedia article would suggest. A ladies' man, too.
  • Mark Messier, especially in his runs with the New York Rangers. His head was so awesome he defined power forward' back in his heyday in the NHL. Oh, and he won the Stanley Cup twice as captain with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and the Rangers in 1994.
  • Michael Rosenbaum, aka Lex Luthor, as well as the voice of Flash and several other DCAU characters.
  • Devin Townsend has recently shaved away his skullet. And the result is indeed awesome.
  • Peter Garrett had this in his Midnight Oil days. (He's still bald, but has become decidedly less awesome since going into politics.)
  • Kevin Martin, skip for Canada's curling team in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics.
  • Pim Fortuyn, Dutch politician and the "greatest Dutchman of all time."
  • Bald of Awesome + Authority Equals Asskicking = General Ray Odierno
  • Larry David.
  • Howie Mandel from Deal or No Deal, though he originally had hair.
  • Former football referee Pierluigi Collina.
  • Stuntman/current Jason Voorhees actor Derek Mears.
  • Tony Levin, bassist for King Crimson and frequent collaborator with Peter Gabriel.
  • Johan Edlund of Tiamat. He's also pretty much the Face of the Band and...well, the rest of the bad as well.
  • Montel Williams. The baldness gave him sex appeal among fans of talk shows.
  • Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon of Pardon the Interruption. Natural in Kornheiser's case, shaved in Wilbon's.
  • Six Flags commercials.
  • Composer Jean Sibelius, later in life.
    • As well as his contemporary, Paul Hindemith.
  • Matt Dillahunty, baby-munching Atheist.
  • Telly Savalas.
  • Neal Stephenson.
  • "Mr. Warmth" himself, Don Rickles.
  • Louis Nicolas Davout, the "Iron Marshal".
  • Basketball player Shaquille O'Neal.
  • Hector Elizondo, of Chicago Hope fame.
  • Fabian Barthez, French soccer player.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP
  • Dwayne Bigger, Crewmember on the 00 Toyota Camry better known to Nascar Fans as "Billy Bad Butt".
  • John Browning, the man who more or less singlehandedly invented modern firearms technology.
  • Colin Mochrie.
  • Terry O'Quinn
  • Ben Franklin.
  • Jordan Rudess combines it with a Badass Beard.
  • John Williams.
  • Chris Santos.
  • Steve Wilkos.
  • Socrates.
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