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Hollywood Hair Hall of Fame - Mondays in June


As Dolly Parton put it, "The bigger the hair, the closer to God!" In celebration of big hair, short cuts and everything in between, TCM highlights a number of films featuring iconic hairstyles sported by Hollywood stars, both male and female. Our selection ranges from the 1920s through the '70s, demonstrating how influential the movies have been in the creation of popular 'dos through the decades.

Our styles are arranged by categories beginning with such Classic Coifs as the one worn by Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box (1929). Playing a character named Lulu, Brooks wore a sleek, close-cut bob that framed her face and earned her the nickname "the girl in the black helmet." The cut has been much-copied over the years, showing up on everyone from Cyd Charisse in Singin' in the Rain (1952) to Liza Minnelli in Cabaret (1972) and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (1994).

When it came to little girls, no one was more copied in the 1930s than Shirley Temple in the mop of curls she wore in such movies as The Little Princess (1939). Equally influential in men's hairstyles was James Dean's pompadour in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), a style that survives today in what is known in British slang as a "quiff." Dean, the personification of youthful angst in the 1950s, combined sideburns with his upswept hair to create a look the remains one of the sexiest for a man.

Other Classic Coifs include Rita Hayworth's in Gilda (1946), Jean Seberg's in Breathless (1960), Elvis Presley's in Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Josephine Baker's in ZouZou (1934).

All Shades and Sizes includes Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (1963), in which the brunette beauty wore a series of styles ranging from a shoulder-length pageboy with short bangs to ever-more-elaborate wigs interwoven with jewels, beads and decorative headdresses. The Cleopatra "look" (especially Taylor's bangs and eye makeup) quickly became very popular in street wear.

David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977) has Jack Nance in what has been called a "socket-finger" hairstyle - a frizzy and exaggerated pompadour that Dolly Parton surely would have viewed with reverence. In Blake Edwards' 10 (1979), Bo Derek plays Dudley Moore's dream girl who frolics on a beach wearing a gold swimsuit with her hair braided into cornrows that are still talked about today.

Other entries in the All Shades and Sizes collection include Pam Grier in Coffy (1973), Marlene Dietrich in Kismet (1944), Dean Stockwell in The Boy with Green Hair (1948) and Lucille Ball in Forever, Darling (1956).

Blondes Have More Fun is a point proven by Jean Harlow in Bombshell (1933), in which the sex symbol known as the "Platinum Blonde" shows off her white-hot tresses and other assets. She plays a movie star named Lola Burns who seems suspiciously close to Harlow herself.

Veronica Lake, star of the film noir The Glass Key (1942), established a much-copied style that's still in vogue today when she allowed a wave of hair to fall over one eye. The errant lock earned her the nickname "Peek-a-Boo Blonde." Faye Dunaway started fashion trends in the 1960s with her 1930s styles for Bonnie and Clyde (1967), including her blonde bob with side-swept bangs and a wardrobe of midi-skirts and berets.

Among other stylish blondes are Brigitte Bardot in Contempt (1963), Marilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love (1960), Grace Kelly in The Swan (1956) and Doris Day in Move Over, Darling (1963).

Our Boys Club of male stars with trend-setting haircuts includes Charlie Chaplin as his alter ego, the "Little Tramp," in The Kid (1921). Chaplin's tousled hair was a part of the indelible image that also included a squared-off moustache, black derby and oversized shoes. As Shaft (1971), Richard Roundtree became the first movie hero to sport a mini-Afro, macho "horseshoe" moustache and a wardrobe as audacious as his attitude.

Clark Gable perfected his signature "look" in Dancing Lady (1933), wearing his trademark short hairstyle slicked back and combed to one side with a part in the other. This was one of the first movies in which Gable wore his trademark "pencil" moustache, although he had experimented with false moustaches in other films.

Other members of the Boys Club are Groucho Marx in At the Circus 1939), Vincent Price in House of Wax (1953), Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (1976).

by Roger Fristoe
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