Yul Brynner, Hollywood's Original Sexy Bald Man: Facts And Stories

By | May 19, 2021

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Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments, 1956 (Photo by Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Before Yul Brynner, the saying, “bald is beautiful” never existed. Michael Jordan may have taken the chrome dome mainstream but Brynner was the first to walk the lonely road of the follically challenged. Oddly enough, Brynner actually didn’t fall in the 50% of middle-aged men losing their luscious locks. Rather, Brynner shaved his hair for his unforgettable role in The King and I and liked the look so much he stayed with the cue ball aesthetic for the rest of his life. Going with the smooth scalp won Brynner two Tony Awards and later on an Academy Award for the film adaptation of his King Mongkut portrayal. However, there’s much more to the Magnificent Seven, Westworld, and Ten Commandments star.

Yul Brynner Was Proud Of His Romani Heritage

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Brynner in "The King And I." (Britannica)

Many stars come from diverse backgrounds but Brynner's takes the cake. First, his family hailed from Russia but also possessed Swiss, Mongol, and Romani ancestry. (The Roma or Romani people are perhaps better known as "Gypsies," although that term is often considered derogatory.) Brynner was so fiercely proud of his Romani ancestry later in life he became the honorary president of the International Romani Union, a title he held onto until his death. After his father, a mining engineer, ran off with a Russian actress, Brynner’s mother, also an actress, took her two kids to China. A decade later, fearing a war between China and Japan, they moved again, this time to Paris.