Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fred Astaire and his Long Lost Hair

A bald Fred in 1944
Fred Astaire has always been more famous for his fancy feet than for his hair, but if one was to take a closer examination of his hair style one would notice that it was quite unique. So unique that even as a Rankin/Bass puppet ( in The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town ) he was recognizable. Not too many Hollywood actors could boast such a large forehead as Fred. 

But what many do not know is that some of that hair was attached. Like other actors such as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, and John Wayne, poor Fred had a receding hairline....even at an early age he was showing signs of baldness. His toupee stylist did a marvelous job of creating a piece that not only looked natural but appeared to be thinning itself. And what's most impressive is it stayed on while Fred waltzed with Ginger, jumped up on tables, and tapped his way around rooms, even up walls! 

Like most men of his generation, Fred never went out of doors without a hat and always wore his pieces on stage and for public performances. But he was happy to be rid of them when the public eye was not on him. After filming wrapped for Blue Skies, what Fred thought was his final film, he was said to have tore off his hairpiece and stomped on it in glee! Alas, his film career did not come to an end in 1946 and Fred continued to appear in films and television up until the mid-1980s, always sporting his "top hat", that famous hair-piece. 

Astaire, with and without his hair

This post is a part of our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!

6 comments:

  1. This is so interesting! I had no idea. "And what's most impressive is it stayed on while Fred waltzed with Ginger, jumped up on tables, and tapped his way around rooms, even up walls!" That is a really interesting comment!
    What a cool post!

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    1. Fred would have been disappointed if you recognized that his hair piece wasn't real! We're glad you enjoyed the post. Try to keep your eyes peeled for John Wayne's piece, now.

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  2. Bing called his the "scalp doily". I've often wondered if Bing and Fred tried trading when they worked together.

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    1. A fitting title to a great looking attachment! I'm not sure der Bingle's top would have looked good on Fred's tall forehead.

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  3. Leslie Caron included a picture of a toupée-less Fred Astaire in her autobiography. At the time, the two were practising dance routines from their movie "Daddy Long Legs".
    Seeing Fred without his piece for the first time is a bit of a shocker. He's still one of a kind!

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    1. Oh, I'll have to check that out! Yes, it is amazing how different one looks without their hair...or, in the case of Yul Brynner, WITH hair.

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