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Ideally, a toupee is indistinguishable from normal hair. If worn with a certain amount of subtlety, it will admirably hide a man's baldness. Sadly, we don't live in an ideal world, and bad toupees crop up far more often than their owners would have us believe. This is especially apparent among movie stars, celebrities and politicians; they must endure the constant scrutiny of a media that makes disguising a toupee incredibly difficulty. A number of famous men have donned toupees--whether out of vanity, personal preference or job necessity--which advertise their presence quite prominently.
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Actor William Shatner's hairline was already receding when he starred as Captain Kirk in the "Star Trek" TV show. In the 1970s, his hair line underwent dramatic restructuring, appearing less like actual human hair and more like a Tribble which had camped out on his skull. Many people have reported spotting his toupee during various films and TV shows, but it apparently reached critical mass during the early 1980s, when the "Star Trek" movie franchise was in full force. (Watch his famous "KHAAAANNN!!!" moment in "Star Trek II," and you may see the hairpiece shifting.) He eventually had hair replacement surgery--growing more media-savvy in recent decades--but its legacy remains on film and in a thousand subsequent stand-up comedy routines.
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Sean Connery rarely made any secret about his baldness, which he was afflicted with at a very early age. However, he often donned hairpieces for his numerous onscreen roles--including all seven turns as James Bond, the part that made him famous. For some roles, the toupee was very good, rendering his male pattern baldness almost invisible. For others, however, its prominence often became distracting. This was particularly true in the latter Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever" and fantasy epics such as "Highlander" and "Zardoz."
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A number of prominent politicians have donned hairpieces as a part of presenting a positive image. It makes logical sense, considering the importance of appearance in contemporary politics. Few capital toupees were more prominent (or obvious) than that of former Congressman James Traficant, who represented the 17th District of Ohio for over 17 years. In 2002, he was expelled from Congress and convicted of a number of crimes, including bribery, tax evasion, obstruction of justice and forcing his aides to work on his Ohio farm. He was released from prison in 2009 after serving seven years of his sentence. The truth about his toupee came out after his conviction. However, even while he served, the status of the hairpiece--worn as a tall pompadour--was beyond most reasonable forms of doubt.
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