We have come far in this, our celebration of Great Men who donned Great Beards. We have touched the heavens, visited great scientists, artists, Presidents, Hollywood stars, musicians and more. For this, the final installment of Great Bearded Men, I pay tribute to a Man of Great literary prowess. A Great Man whose stories have captivated audiences for hundreds of years across the globe.
William Shakespeare stands beards apart from the literary giants of history. His brilliant works included comedies, histories and perhaps most famously, tragedies. Anthony and Cleopatra, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Hamlet and of course, Romeo and Juliet all have the name Shakespeare at the bottom. But there is something mysterious about this last Great Bearded Man. No one truly knows what he looked like!
To the best of our knowledge, Shakespeare never commissioned a portrait. Most portraits of Shakespeare were completed after his death, some from descriptions of his general appearance, others completely fabricated! I have chosen the most famous Shakespeare portrait of all, the Chandos Portrait. It is believed to be the only one completed during his lifetime, giving it added credibility. No one knows who actually painted the portrait, nor if it’s really him, but the National Portrait Gallery believes it most likely is the Great Bearded Man of literature.
Since my decision to grow facial hair on January 23, 2010, I have embarked upon a mission to highlight the Great Men who have donned Great Beards. Beards come in many shapes and sizes, styles and colors. But they share one common theme; they make the man sporting them more awesome.
In today’s post about Great Bearded Men we shall delve into the world of science. While there have been scientists who shunned the beard (see below), one has to wonder how much more they could have done had they embraced the awesome power of the beard.
When you combine cerebral power with beard power, you get this most awesome Great Bearded Man:
Charles Darwin is the Great Bearded Man who showed the world that all species of life on earth have descended over time from common ancestors. We now understand the diversity of life on earth because of Darwin’s scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from the process of natural selection. He was so Great, he is one of only 5 British persons not of royal descent who are buried in Westminster Abbey.
Mr. Darwin, the entire scientific community and those that depend on them salute you. You were truly a Great Bearded Man.
Great Men who don Great Beards can be found in all walks of life. However, there are certain professions where Bearded Men can be frowned upon. One such profession is that of professional baseball player. Throughout the long history of baseball, team owners have preferred their players to be clean shaven. It wasn’t until 1970 that two MLB players even grew mustaches!
But in 1981, this Great Man grew a full, rugged, manly Beard of Greatness.
Bruce Sutter was one of MLB’s dominant relief pitchers in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. He is the first pitcher known to effectively throw a Split Fingered Fastball. He led the National League in Saves five times, won the Cy Young Award, and retired with 300 Career Saves, which was the third most in history at the time.
Bruce Sutter’s Greatness was recognized by Baseball’s Hall of Fame, where his plaque proudly depicts his Great Bearded Face.
As I continue my tribute to the Great Men who sport Great Beards, let’s reflect back on where we’ve been:
- Men of Science
- US Presidents
- Beard Advocates
This post will honor an American Icon; Rock Music. There have been many Great Men of rock who embraced their inner Yeti and allowed their facial hair follicles to flourish. But few have pulled it off with the panache of this Great Man.
Eddie Vedder is the singer, songwriter and frontman for one of the greatest bands in rock history. While he hasn’t always been whiskered, with age comes wisdom and Eddie now dons a proud beard. I salute you Eddie, as do the legions of Pearl Jam fans. You truly are a Great Bearded Man.
It’s time to go to Hollywood baby! Hollywood hasn’t always embraced leading men who sport the facial hair, and to be fair, some guys don’t pull it off. But this Great Man is a man among men, and remains all Bearded Manness late into his 70’s. In fact, he was voted Sexiest Man of the Century in 1999.
By the way, as of the year 2000 we must now call him Sir Sean Connery. That’s right, even the Queen had to respect this Great Bearded Man.