Lights! Camera! Liberace! If you’re old enough to remember, Wladziu Valentino Liberace was one of the biggest entertainers in the world during the 1950s through the 1970s—and one of the highest paid. That latter detail is crucial, especially when you consider the kind of upkeep the pianist’s grandiose persona required: He was all glitter, glam, fur, jewels, and HAIR. Who could forget the evolving skunk growing on top of Liberace’s head?
As we prepare for these actors’ hair-o-rific atrocities, which will certainly emblazon our eyeballs and entertain us to our heart’s content, we thought it’d be good times to take a look back at some other actors’ cinematic hair bombs that have made us grateful for even our worst haircuts.
Eriq LaSalle in Coming to America Credit: Photofest Activator! Where’s My Activator?! We initially thought of ragging on Samuel L. Jackson and his tame but excited jheri curls on Pulp Fiction, but honestly, it seems that whatever he sports ends up looking point-blank badass.
That being said, we spray on to his predecessor, Coming to America’s Eriq LaSalle, whose jheri is twice as big, shiny, and ba-ba-bouncy.
It’s a surprise that LaSalle was able to recover so quickly after his fro-tastic display on Eddie Murphy’s 1988 comedy, but indeed, he did—snagging the dour role of Dr. Peter Benton on NBC’s ER. But no matter how much Dr. Benton is remembered, we’re sure LaSalle’s real-life friends don’t play down his Mr. 80s “SoulGlo” moment.
Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men Credit: Photofest The red eye shadow haloing his menacing eyeballs, the heavy, milky thud of his infrequently used vocal chords, and the calmly coiffed Cremini mushroom on the top of his head were a trifecta of freakishness that emboldened Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men.
But out of all those scary qualities, it was the mushroom of delicate Quakerish locks that turned our follicles white—and even Bardem admitted that he was deeply affected by his depressing ‘do. Thankfully, though, he did not suffer in vain: The Spanish actor won an Oscar in 2007 for his psycho hitman role, and a few years later managed to marry the very forgiving Penelope Cruz.
As much as we wanted to take him seriously, Leo’s beauty was pretty distracting, and we started fantasizing what gowns would look best on him at the royal court.
Nicholas Cage in Con Air Credit: Photofest To be honest, once Nicholas Cage’s hairline started receding a hundred years ago, all of his films since then could’ve been voted bad hair days for the mopey-looking actor.
While Cage’s mossy toupé in Adaptation came in as a close second, we decided to go with his thinning hillbilly hippie hair from the 1997 action flick Con Air. His stylist's creative vision to slick back a quarter of his hair with a wet comb and then let the remaining three quarters of his tresses let loose with abandon = genius.
If you feel that Cage’s hairstyle looks oddly familiar within the Hollywood blockbuster sphere, feel free to refer to Mel Gibson’s tangly locks on Braveheart. We have an inkling that both of these actors’ hair-fails originated from Billy Ray Cyrus, but we can’t prove it.
John Travolta in Battlefield Earth
Credit: Photofest Fellow hair-plug bud to Nick Cage, John Travolta has had better luck over the years donning his ‘do, but that all came to a crashing halt when he decided to morph into a follicular amalgam of Predator meets The Lion from the Wizard of Oz in his Scientology flick Battlefield Earth.
Of course, no one breathing has watched this film, including us, but who would’ve wanted to when Travolta’s hair is looking out-of-this-world cray-cray, and he resembles an inbred Klingon with a thin set of tongs squeezing his air holes? Pop in a little more fuzz on Travolta’s face, and we would’ve mistaken him for Chewbacca’s long-lost cousin.