Deadly Movies | Top 5’s
Steven Spielberg is a purveyor of fine beards. He himself sports one almost religiously, as do close pals George Lucas, Tobe Hooper, and John Landis. Indeed all of these men are fine alumni of 1970s fashion, a time when beards ruled the earth. Granted, Spielberg seems to have fallen somewhat out of love with man face-pubes these days, preferring his leading men with the smooth scrotal faces of Cruise, Hanks, and DiCaprio. But from the earliest days of his career the great auteur has always enjoyed photographing the gravitas that only beards can bring to the big screen. Join Deadly Movies in hairy adventure through Spielberg’s greatest on-screen beardy moments:
5: Sallah (John Rhys-Davies and Beard): Appearing in two Indy movies (‘Raiders‘ and ‘Last Crusade‘), John Rhy-Davis is no stranger to a good beard (see Gimli in ‘The Lord of the Rings Trilogy’). Slightly changing his ethnicity (that circles that one quite nicely), Davies is supported by a sturdy, if not spectacular black beard that helps with passable pigment change. The beard and Davis separated during his time filming ‘Lord of the Rings‘, a rift occurred due to Davies new and longer fake beard. In 2005 the beard underwent cosmetic hair implants and is now carving out a renewed fat sidekick career with Zach Galifianakis.
4: John ‘Santa Claus’ Hammond (Sir Dickie Attenborough and Beard): Our second entry to appear in two Spielberg joints (‘Jurassic Park‘ and ‘The Lost World‘). Sir Dickie’s beautifully combed white beard was grown organically from the finest English soil. This smooth, white, noble beard provided the ideal face costume for conveying kindly old grandpa on one hand, and British gravitas on the other. This beard was also clearly responsible for the Santa gig on ‘Miracle on 34th Street‘ that Attenborough landed one year later. “Welcome to Jurassic Park!”
3: Dr Robert Burke (TV actor Thomas F Duffy and Beard): Another graduate of ‘The Lost World‘, Dr Burke was a cowboy hat wearing echo hippy, hired by INGEN for his dino expertise. Burke commands respect for all manner of head hair, looking more like a front man for a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute than a man of science. Alas this beard was a career peak for Duffy, who failed to maintain the hairy highs of JP2, fading back into the clean shaven world of TV shortly after. Ah well, we’ll always have Isla Sorna.
2: Matt ‘City Hands’ Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss and Beard): Into the 70s, where the beard is most at ease, with the monster masterpiece ‘JAWS‘. What a beard, so much bushier than you remember it being. Seriously, revisit the film, Dreyfuss’ chin has taken a vacation from filming due to tax aversion and been replaced by bear cub that transforms the then youthful actor into the lefty and loveable Marine Biologist. Without this hefty chin strap Hooper would have been but a boy amongst men when trading verbals with the mighty Quint. Quint’s mutton chops and tache are far too much for any pasty smooth face to defend against. Capable of both wet and dry looks, Hooper’s beard was sadly missing in ‘Jaws 2’ due to scheduling conflicts while appearing on James Brolin’s face.
1: David ‘Sandstorm’ Laughlin (Bob Balaban and BEARD!): The best Spielberg beard. The popular saying ‘any port in a storm’ just isn’t applicable to Bob Balaban’s 1977 beard, as seen in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘. Laughlin first appears during the film’s opening in a ferocious sandstorm, and while everyone else around him seeks shelter, Lauhlin’s ample beard thwarts every speeding grain. Throughout the rest of the movie Laughlin’s beard acts with a gravitational pull all off its own, single-handedly ensuring inter species friendship and returning lost loved ones from the depth of space. At least that’s how I remember it. Some say that on set Bob Balaban was physically drained from the energy required to support his beard, and would eat up to four bags of rice, seven whole chickens, and ninety-six raw eggs per day just to sustain its hunger. A king’s beard worthy of the number one spot.