In many ways, it stands to reason that bald actors should have achieved incredible success in Hollywood in recent times. They’re certainly well-suited to the role of the leading man, and this has been borne out by a number of studies conducted during the last few years.
One of these suggests that men are often perceived as being more dominant, more masculine and stronger than individuals with a full head of hair. This means that individuals with shaved heads are capable of commanding the silver screen, whilst also appealing to an army of male and female fans alike!
With so many actors now showcasing this look, producers are spoiled for choice when casting for leading roles in the latest, Hollywood blockbusters.
In this article, we’ll rank the best 11 bald actors of all-time, and ask what they brought to the industry during their illustrious careers.
#1 – Sean Connery
While the rugged and gravel-voiced Connery may be synonymous with the iconic role of James Bond (he played the suave secret agent in seven films between 1962 and 1983), he has actually enthralled in a number of diverse roles across more than five decades.
This has led to a superb and award-laden career, with the highlight coming in 1988 when he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables.
His outstanding career also includes notable films such as Marnie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Highlander and The Rock.
These hits alone span a period of 32 years, during which time Connery has brought grit, charisma and incredible presence to the silver screen.
His rugged good looks and masculine appearance have also done him no harm during his later career, while he was even proclaimed as the “sexiest man alive” by People Magazine at the age of 69 in 1999.
#2 – Bruce Willis
You didn’t really think we’d compile this list without featuring Bruce Willis, did you?
After all, this actor and musician has emerged as one of the most iconic leading men of an entire generation, and one who oozes charisma and presence in every single role.
Having first made his name as the private eye David Addison, in the hit television series Moonlighting, Willis earned his big-break when playing the role of hard-edged, wise-cracking cop John McClane, in the monster hit Die Hard in 1988, and followed this up with a successful sequel just two years later.
Die Hard just happens to have become one of the most successful film franchises of all-time, while they’ve helped to cement Willis’ reputation as the go-to man for spectacular action films.
In total, Willis’ films have also grossed in excess of $2.5 billion, putting him in the top ten stars when it comes to Box Office receipts.
#3 – Patrick Stewart
A star of both stage and screen, Patrick Stewart has been wowing international audiences ever since his professional acting debut back in 1959.
Back then, he began touring with the Old Vic Company and theatre group, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966.
In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Stewart headed to Los Angeles to launch his screen career, starring as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the hit series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 to 1994).
Having made this iconic role his own, he reprised it for a number of successful Star Trek films, including Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
To this day, he continues to command roles on the stage and in hit films across the globe, while he’s also been awarded a coveted OBE for his services to drama in the UK.
#4 – Samuel L. Jackson
If there’s one actor on this list who could be described as prolific, it’s the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson.
The former Pulp Fiction star has appeared in more than 100 films, including notable titles such as Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Snakes on a Plane (2006) and Die Hard: With a Vengeance back in 1995.
While he first came to prominence at the end of the 1980s after appearing in three Spike Lee films, Jackson first earned acclaim for his roles in Patriot Games (1992) and True Romance (1993).
Then came a score of iconic collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino, including the aforementioned Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and the award winning Django Unchained in 2012.
Renowned for his ability to reprise action roles and portray hard-edged and enigmatic characters, Jackson remains one of the most sought-after performers in Hollywood.
He has also recently started out as a producer, and is likely to remain in the industry for the foreseeable future at least.
#5 – Sir Ben Kingsley
Another man who has starred on stage and on the silver screen, Ben Kingsley launched his career in the theatre before making the move to Hollywood.
Born Krishna Bhanji, the actor changed his name shortly after finding fame on the stage, in the hope that it would help him achieve more success in his career.
This yielded almost instant results, with the shaven-headed Kingsley earning international repute for his performance in the iconic drama movie Gandhi in 1982.
Starring in the lead role Mohandas K. Gandi, Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor and quickly became a household name.
Considered to be one of the finest British actors of all-time, Kingsley has made a habit of appearing in several award winning films.
These include Schindler’s List (1993), in which Kingsley reprised the role of Itzhak Stern and earned a BAFTA nomination for best supporting actor.
#6 – Yul Brynner
An exotic leading man who starred in many American hits, Yul Brynner was an international man of mystery who created an enigmatic air that really wowed audiences.
For most of his career, Brynner was best-known for his striking bald head, which was unusual at the time as actors who were losing their hair typically tried to hide this with a wig.
A true enigma, Brynner’s first work saw him star in a TV series called Mr. Jones and his Neighbours (1944), before he began to star in a number of Broadway productions.
Then came his breakthrough moment, as he was cast as the king in Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein II’s epic musical The King and I.
This was even made into a hit film, in which Brynner also starred and earned the Oscar for Best Actor.
Brynner continued to star in a number of diverse roles during the next two decades, starring in films such as The Magnificent Seven.
Few actors could boast Brynner’s range or appeal, and for a time he was almost certainly the most coveted performer in the world.
#7 – Stanley Tucci
Not only is Tucci a confident lead man who is also bald, but he has also emerged as one of Hollywood and Broadway’s most stylish performers.
Like many greats who went before him, Tucci took his first professional steps on Broadway in 1982, before following this up with his film debut in Prizzi’s Honor in 1985.
Although his career was something of a slow-burner, Tucci grew into a popular leading man in the noughties, earning plaudits for his roles in Lucky Number Slevin (2006), The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
In 2009, Tucci also received his first (and long overdue) Academy Award nomination for his turn as a child murderer in The Lovely Bones.
Tucci is also a prominent star in the world of television, and there’s no doubt that he remains one of the best and most talented actors in the modern age.
#8 – Jerry Doyle
The second man on our list who has sadly passed away, the balding Jerry Doyle became a successful actor after previously trading as a stockbroker on Wall Street and working as a pilot.
This unusual grounding did not affect Doyle’s career, with the American-born star achieving international success as the star of Babylon 5 (launched in 1994), Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (1999) and Babylon 5: The River of Souls (1998).
Reprising the role of Michael Garibaldi, Doyle was a key part of the franchises’ success, with the initial TV series earning repute as one of the most complex and forward-thinking science fiction shows ever to grace the screen.
Reid was an immensely grounded and talented actor, and one who arguably made being shaven-headed fashionable long before the likes of Bruce Willis and Vin Diesel.
Interestingly, his first TV role came on the series Moonlighting, where he played a potential replacement for Bruce Willis’ character.
#9 – Damon Wayans
A former comedian with an outrageous sense of humour, Wayans was a deceptively talented actor who always brought incredible energy to the roles he reprised.
Whether he was performing a cameo or starring as a leading man, he often stole the show and deserves his place on our list.
His movie credits are impressive to say the least, with Wayans having debuted in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) before starring in Steve Martin’s hit Roxanne in 1987.
He then earned genuine praise for his role as an alien in Earth Girls Are Easy (1998), starring alongside Jeff Goldblum and future co-star Jim Carrey.
He also showcased his diverse range in the gritty police drama Colors in 1988, when he starred alongside Sean Penn and achieved a new peak in his career.
Then came global success through the medium of television, when Wayans and his older brother launched the landmark sketch variety show In Living Colour and provided a genuine platform for the former to showcase his unique comedic ability.
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#10 – Jason Statham
No one can deny the immense success Jason Statham has enjoyed in the UK and abroad, and without doubt, he’s deserves his claim as of the best actors of all time.
He has revolutionised action films for the modern age, with hits such as The Transporter (2002) setting new standards within this genre.
Having performed job roles such as fashion model, black market salesman and diver, Statham finally settled on acting and earned his first audition through fashion brand French Connection.
This also led to Statham’s big break, when he started in Guy Ritchie’s Brit-smash Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998.
Then followed a sequel and Ritchie’s 2000 hit Snatch, which introduced Statham to star names such as Brad Pit, Dennis Farina and Benicio Del Toro.
Having won the role of mercenary driver Frank Martin, Statham finally made his name in Hollywood in the Transporter franchise, while he continues to appear in British and American blockbusters to this day.
Statham is also the embodiment of masculinity in the modern age, while his shaved head has become almost as iconic as his performances.
#11 – Jonathan Banks
We close with a relative recent addition, with Banks having only earned global acknowledgement for his brilliant reprisal of the deadpan Mike Ehrmantraut in the hit series Breaking Bad.
Still, his ability to effortlessly steal scenes in what is arguably the greater television series of all-time is a testament to Banks’ ability, while it has earmarked him as one of the hottest properties in the industry right now.
The versatile and talented Banks has also earned repute as a stage actor, while he has continued to reprise his role as Mike Ehrmantraut for the hugely successful, Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul.
Alongside the superb Giancarlo Esposito (who played the psychotic Gus Frings in Breaking Bad), Banks lit up the later series instalments and helped to elevate the show onto an entirely new level.
Perhaps his best ability has been to make hit-men and supposedly sinister characters loveable, and with this in mind he is worthy of a place in our top 11.
#12 Dwayne Johnson
While Jonathan Banks may well have earned global acclaim relatively recently, our next addition is at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to fame and accomplishment.
That’s right; our next selection is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who made his name as a high profile WWE Wrestler before becoming one of Hollywood’s most popular and recognisable actors.
To date, his movies have grossed a staggering $10.5 billion across the globe, and $3.5 billion in the US alone. These figures make Johnson one of the world’s highest grossing actors, which is no small feat when you consider the level of competition that he’s up against!
The Rock was also named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in both 2016 and 2019, highlighting how his profile continues to transcend acting and the various activities he has been involved in during his life.
#13 – Telly Savalas
Next up is Telly Savalas, who may not be particularly well-known amongst some of our younger readers.
However, Savalas was undoubtedly one of the most imposing lead men of his generation, having famously portrayed the fiery Lt. Theo Kojack on the iconic crime drama series of the same name.
This hit series ran from 1973 to 1978, while the main man himself was voted as the 18th greatest TV character of all time in the 1999 TV Guide publication.
Fans of James Bond may also know that Kojak played 007’s nemesis Ernest Stavro Blofeld in the 1969 hit ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. But he first shot to fame seven years earlier, having been nominated for two Academy Awards after his lead role in the 1962 hit ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’.
#14 – JK Simmons
JK Simmons is probably best known for his superb performance in the drama film Whiplash, which earned the actor widespread critical acclaim and Academy and Golden Globe awards (amongst others) for Best Supporting Actor.
However, Simmons has excelled as an actor for years before this 2014 hit, with his portrayal of Dr. Emil Skoda on NBC series Law & Order propelling him to fame in the States.
He’s also earned acclaim and awards for his performances in the hit sci-fi drama Counterpart, which despite being cancelled after two seasons earned something of a cult following amongst its fans.
In truth, Simmons list of hits and awards is simply too long to detail here, but despite being almost criminally underrated, he’s well worthy of being included in our selection of talented bald actors.
#15 – Sir Anthony Hopkins
Be honest, did you really think that this list would be complete without the inclusion of Sir Anthony Hopkins?
Let’s face fact; The Silence of the Lambs star has enjoyed a stellar acting career that dates back to the 1960s, during which time he has one Academy Award, three BAFTAs, two Emmys and the Cecil B. DeMille Award (along with his coveted CBE, of course).
His Oscar for Best Actor came (unsurprisingly) following his portrayal of Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, although other prominent works include The Elephant Man, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the hit TV series King Lear.
In 1993, Hopkins earned the ultimate honour of being knighted by the Queen, all for his incredible services to the arts.
#16 – Terry Crews
Terry Crews made an almost seamless transition from sport to acting, having initially made his name by playing 32 NFL games for five different teams between 1991 and 1996.
While Crews’ NFL career may have largely underwhelmed (he supplemented his income at this time by working as an illustrator), he has earned huge acclaim as an actor, while he remains best known for playing Julius Rock on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and for his current role as Sergeant Terry Jeffords in police sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
His filmography also includes hit comedies such as The Longest Yard and White Chicks.
Crews is also a successful voice actor, with roles in hits such as American Dad and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.
#17 – Alan Arkin
Next up is another superb and highly accredited actor, with Alan Arkin having received multiple awards for his work.
Now 86, Arkin won the coveted Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Little Miss Sunshine, while he followed this up with another Oscar after appearing in the hit film Argo.
He also boasts plenty of award nominations, having narrowly failed to win the Oscar for Best Actor after starring in the highly-acclaimed ‘The Russians are Coming’.
It’s also a little known fact that Arkin is one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor following his silver screen debut, which tells you everything you need to know about his immense talent.
#18 – Robert Duvall
Once again, it seems ridiculous to compile this type of list without featuring Robert Duvall, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal of The Godfather’s Tom Hagen (the man who works as the lawyer for the iconic Corleone family).
Duvall’s big screen career launched in 1962, when he starred as Boo Radley in the legendary ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Since then, he has featured in a number of TV series and stellar films, including The Twilight Zone, The Godfather Part II and Falling Down.
During his incredible career, Duvall has been nominated for seven Academy Awards (winning one) and seven Golden Globe awards (winning four).
He has also won a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild Award, along with an Emmy Award for his performance in the Western-inspired TV series Lonesome Dove.#
#19 – Ed Harris
While you may not know the name Ed Harris, this actor has one of the most recognisable faces in the whole of Hollywood.
Some of his biggest hits happen to include huge Hollywood blockbusters, including Apollo 13 and the innovative 1998 movie ‘The Truman Show’.
Interestingly, these roles saw Harris nominated for various Academy Awards, while he received similar nominations for his stellar performances in Pollock and The Hours.
Fans of current scheduling will know that Harris is currently starring in the sci-fi blockbuster Westworld, which has run since 2016 and earned the actor yet another Primetime Emmy nomination.
#20 – Michael Clarke Duncan
Last, but by no means least, comes Michael Clarke Duncan – a giant of a man who delivered one of Hollywood’s most iconic roles.
That’s right, Duncan’s breakout role was as John Coffey in The Green Mile, for which the star earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Since this time, he has starred in major motion pictures like The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and Sin City (2005), while his filmography also includes The Scorpion King and Planet of the Apes.
TV fans may also have spotted Duncan in the popular series Bones, where he starred as one of the lead characters Leo Knox.
The Last Word
Make no mistake; creating a relatively short compilation of the best bald actors of all-time was a significant challenge, and one that left many worthy candidates out in the cold.
Even if we included an honourable mention section, we’d struggle to fit everyone in who we’d like to include.
This proves how bald men have become increasingly dominant on the stage and the silver screen, with their presence, striking looks and cult followings making them ideally-placed to star as leading men in the modern age.
With these picks, we think we’ve selected the best bald actors of all-time, and those who have had the biggest impact on the industry as a whole.
Article updated 21 December 2020