During an interview with Parkin, star icon and professional actor, Sir Patrick Stewart, speaks about male pattern baldness. Losing his hair at a young age and anxious by future relationship and career problems, Stewart talks of the trials he faced during his early adulthood. Although, from the moment he accepted his newfound baldness, he was born anew.
Sir Patrick Stewart began balding at the age of 19 and he lost almost all his hair within just one year. He reminisces how it was a tough time for him “…I thought everything was over, especially one aspect of my life – ladies.” Stewart admits that it didn’t end up this way at all, but he still felt like he was inhibited by his baldness. He jokes about how being bald is coming into style, “Yeah, and it was nice for a while, I saw all of these shaved heads, but it began to irritate me frankly. People that shave it all off, I somehow feel like they are infringing on my territory.”
Once during a press conference, a reporter asked Gene Roddenberry, the creator of star trek, “look, it doesn’t make any sense, you’ve got a bald actor playing this part, surely by the 21st century they will have a cure for male pattern baldness.” Roddenberry responded “no, by the 21st century, no one will care.”
In his early career Stewart would wear a toupee when he went for casting calls and job auditions. He vividly remembers one moment when he was auditioning for the national theater for Laurence Olivier. “I wore the toupee to the audition which looked really good, actually entirely natural. I went in and did my first piece with the toupee. Olivier was sitting there right in front of me, it was a nerve wracking experience and I eventually unclipped the hair piece for the second set, and immediately I realized I didn’t have his entire attention, he was looking down at the floor, directly at the toupee. When I finished, he said ‘do it again’, and I said, you want me to do one of the pieces again? He said ‘no, put your toupee back on and take it back off again.’ So I did, and he said ‘marvelous, that’s marvelous’. I swear, it was the only thing about my audition that he remembered.”
Even though Stewart lost his hair at an early age, he didn’t shave it bald for a number of years. He relates the hilarious story of the first time he went fully bald, “There was a man who was at drama school with me, Hungarian, he was older than the rest of us, he ran his own theater in Budapest. He was a man of strong personality and a good loyal friend to me. He and his wife invited me for lunch one day, the two of them got to the end of their lunch and I thought they were going to make a coffee or something.
Then all of a sudden, I was grabbed from behind by George, this big powerful man, and I thought he was playing some kind of game, so I was laughing and joking but then his wife appeared in front of me with a pair of scissors and I knew in an instant what she was going to do, and I began to scream and shout, and now it was serious. I was fighting to keep my appearance, then she lifted my hair and cut it all off.
Then George came around, knelt down in front of me and said, now you be yourself – no more hiding! And he was right because I used to walk constantly embarrassed, I couldn’t stand-up properly. It was not only inhibiting as a person, but it was hopeless if you were an actor, of course.”