Celebrity Mustaches

Dr. Phil shaved his mustache for the first time in 40 years this weekend. From Tom Selleck to Keith Olbermann to Charlie Chaplin, VIEW OUR GALLERY of men who dared to go bare.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images; Charley Gallay, WireImage / Getty Images

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images; Charley Gallay, WireImage / Getty Images

Dr. Phil

Apart from his Texas drawl, Dr. Phil McGraw is best known for that little caterpillar of hair that’s been crawling atop his lip for the past 40 years. But this weekend, Dr. Phil’s upper lip finally saw the light of day when Oprah Winfrey helped him make a long-awaited change. “ I have two kids and they’ve never seen me without a mustache,” he told The Oprah Winfrey Show audience at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. After the big reveal, that caused his wife Robin to gasp from the audience, the self-help guru said he felt “ awfully drafty.”

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Alex Trebek

For years, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek had one of the most famous mustaches on television. So when Trebek decided, in 2001, to shave off the facial hair he’d sported for more than 30 years, fans were left feeling the loss. “Trebek turned his back on his fanbase by shaving his Trebek trim,” Jon Chattman blogged for The Huffington Post. “Seeing Trebek without his mustache is like spotting Flavor Flav without a clock around his neck… It's just not right.” Though Alex did don a fake patch of fuzz for the first half of the April Fools’ Day episode in 2008, the return of his signature ‘stache was short-lived. “There are people who'd like it back,” he acknowledged to Entertainment Weekly. “And I say, it's not gone forever.”

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Tom Selleck

Magnum P.I. certainly would have lost a lot of his street cred if he had ditched his mustache. Tom Selleck’s facial hair is historic—not only did it win over the far younger Monica on Friends, but it also convinced Chandler (and many other young men) to follow suit, though his could never really measure up. “Nice mustache, by the way,” Selleck’s character Richard mocks Chandler’s failed efforts. “When puberty hits, that thing's really gonna kick in.” The power of Selleck’s mustache remains: "I met the great tom selleck today," Ashton Kutcher tweeted last year of the momentous occasion.  "So jealous of the stache. It's glorious and full... Tom Selleck's mustache is Victoria's Secret. Tom Selleck's mustache is the fifth Beatle... I am going to encourage Tom to do a got milk commercial. Epic!" Epic, indeed. And though he has shaved it for various roles over the years, Selleck has also occasionally upped the ante with a goatee. “The goatee is an affectation. It's very 21st century,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly. “But the mustache is real. I need it to cover up my prison tattoo.”

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Keith Olbermann

Before Keith Olbermann got political with his hourlong nightly news program on MSNBC, he spent the first 20 years of his career as a sportscaster—and a hairy one at that. But back when his now-silver locks were black, they matched his equally dark, equally bushy eyebrows and mustache. “He had so much facial hair that it still disguised the ‘pretty’ features of his face,” one Olbyloon, as the anchor’s fans have been referred, wrote. “Maybe he was afraid to let them show, having felt that back in his earlier hairless days he did look too girlish. Maybe mustaches and beards were his way of saying ‘ Look, I’m a guy, OK?’” Though Olbermann alternated between the furry look as an anchor at WCVB-TV in Boston and on the West Coast for KTLA and KCBS in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he shaved off the mustache for good once he hit the big leagues on ESPN’s SportsCenter. While there were rumors that Olbermann was offered a $25,000 signing bonus to regrow his mustache, he remains hairless to this day.

AP Photo; Clarence Sinclair Bull, John Kobal Foundation / Getty Images

Clark Gable

It was difficult to imagine Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind without his mustache. Though the King of Hollywood sported his pencil-thin pyramid of facial hair in the 1934 film It Happened One Night, the only one for which he won an Oscar, it was nowhere to be seen the following year in Mutiny on the Bounty. Of course, the devilishly charming look reemerged when Gable played Rhett Butler and his upper lip was never bare again.

AP Photos

Jeff Gordon

Apparently, the mustache does make the man in the racing world—and Jeff Gordon knew it. “Fans of low-level open-wheel circuits know Gordon paid his dues because they remember the porn-star mustache and half mullet he sported as he dominated dirt tracks as a teenager,” The Sporting News wrote of the driver’s early days. “Once in NASCAR, Gordon shaved, got a nice haircut and raced with a team with a cheesy name (Is "Rainbow Warriors" a pit crew or a Dokken album?). Suddenly everybody hated him.” But the real story, according to Gordon, is that the pre-pubescent-looking mustache he sported when he burst onto the racing scene at 22 in 1993 was an attempt to look older. “Everybody would say to me, ‘You’re 15. You look like you’re 10,’ ” Gordon told Yahoo! “I was always around older people that I was racing against and a lot of my friends were older, so I thought that mustache would help that. But I was wrong.” His ex-wife Brooke asked him to shave it off in 1994 and the rest, as they say, is mustache history. “When I finally shaved it off, I was like, ‘Man, why did this take so long?’”

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Freddie Mercury

The Queen frontman’s facial hair goes down not only as the best in rock history, it also earned him the top prize of “ Britain's Greatest Ever Mustache” in 2009. “Freddie was obviously proud of his facial hair as he once announced mid concert 'it's my mustache and I'm going to keep it,’” a spokeswoman for Remington, which conducted the U.K. poll, told The Telegraph. Indeed, Queen produced two fuzz-referencing songs—“Mustache” off the 1978 album Ska and “Shave Me” off the 1980 album The Lame. Perhaps the most aptly titled song, however, came with the band’s “I Want to Break Free” music video in 1984. Though it was largely a parody of the British soap opera Coronation Street, the video also featured a portion with the Royal Ballet, for which Mercury shaved his signature ‘stache to portray celebrated Russian dancer Nijinsky.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images; John Stillwell / Getty Images

Prince Charles

The typically stiff and bare upper-lipped Prince Charles grew a mustache in 1975 after a nearly monthlong stint in the Canadian Arctic. But as a member of the Royal Navy, young Charles shaved off his full-fledged growth to comply with military regulations, leaving behind just a sliver of his scruff below his nose. According to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, the prince felt it was “slightly under-grown— not quite presentable” for his upcoming installation as Great Master of the Order of the Bath at Westminster Abbey. But the ladies loved it. One teen told The Argus-Press at the time, “He looks super with a beard, really sexy, as if he’s game for anything… Without it he looks like a real stick in the mud.” Thirty-five years later and no longer serving, Prince Charles has still not given it another chance, despite an official Facebook group campaigning for the mustache’s return. “As the time draws closer for the prince to become monarch of the realm, we urge him to start regrowing his ‘stache,” the description for 288-member effort reads. “ God save the King and his mustache!

AP Photo (2)

Charlie Chaplin

Besides the oversize shoes, undersize jacket, and bowler hat, the puffy, dark toothbrush mustache defined silent-film star Charlie Chaplin. “I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering [studio owner Mark] Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small mustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born,” said Chaplin in his autobiography. When he was not playing the Little Tramp, Chaplin shaved the mustache.

AP Photo; Ron Galella, WireImage / Getty Images

Richard Pryor

Like Groucho before him, comedian Richard Pryor’s look was defined by his thick mustache. Although the actor-comedian died in 2005, Pryor’s mustachioed mannerisms were revived in the 2007 film Talk to Me when Don Cheadle, sporting an Afro and, of course, a ‘stache, “evoked Richard Pryor in his early heyday.”

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Frida Kahlo

Despite most women spending hundreds of dollars or minutes per year trying to rid their faces of unwanted hair today, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo thought quite the opposite of both her notorious unibrow and mustache. Kahlo recreated both in dozens of self-portraits, and although Salma Hayek notably went ‘stache-less in her biopic of the artist, the woman herself was far less vain. “Never has a woman with a mustache been so revered—or so marketed—as Frida Kahlo,” one Washington Monthly writer remarked. “Kahlo not only didn't pluck her unibrow or mustache, she groomed them with special tools and even penciled them darker.”