Where Are the Bald TV Dads?


Ward Cleaver and Andy Taylor had full heads of hair in the 1950s. They had to. Nothing else was allowed. In the more swinging '70s, dad perms were impermeable. (Okay, just Mike Brady's. But it was formidable.) There were some dads with receding hairlines (George Jefferson), but none were bald.

But after a thorough(-ly not thorough) combing of television history, we discovered it wasn't until the 1980s when television viewers started to see bald dads. The first one may have been Homer Simpson.

While he does have two remaining hairs on top (and a lower zigzag of hair), Homer broke ground for follicly-challenged pops to be represented on TV.

The fully bald dad examples we came up with post-Homer are rare: There's Michael Kyle on My Wife and Kids. Terry Crews has played dads on both Everybody Hates Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

In Breaking Bad, Walter White's baldness was essential to his character. He made a massive(-ly criminal) transformation to provide for his family's future when faced with his impending death. He began as a square chemistry teacher dad with hair, and once he lost his hair to cancer treatments, he took on the more badass, meth-cooking persona Heisenberg.


It's more common for a TV dad to be mostly bald: you've got your gruff but lovable Red Forman on That 70s Show, and your admirably tolerant Carl Winslow on Family Matters. There's Jim Walsh, the wholesome and wishy-washy dad on the original Beverly Hills, 90210. Uncle Phil was the father figure to Will Smith's titular character in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. There's also Henry Spencer on Psych, a tough-guy retired cop character, whose near-baldness helped Corbin Bernsen look the part.

And there are two "bad dad, good show" examples who are mostly bald as well: George Bluth on Arrested Development and Tony Soprano.

Overall, it's not what you'd call representative of the amount of bald guys in real life. No big deal, just something for casting directors to consider.

Colleen Kane