by Nelson Aspen
In honor of "SeptemBeard" --a witty celebration of facial hair intended to help raise awareness and donations in the fight against a leading killer of men, prostate cancer-- I am going razor-free for the next month. I wrote a blog article about Hollywood's hottest hirsute heartthrobs (including Jake Gyllenhaal, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman... You can read it here.) but I realized how woefully lacking the Daytime TV genre has always been in the Beard Department (that includes Talk & Game shows, too). Does the female demographic the Sponsors covet really prefer baby-faced heroes with shiny, plucked chests and androgynous good looks? Or might there be some viewers out there waiting to "Woof!" at the sight of some Au Naturel guys with some fuzz not only on their hands and feet, but right up there on their chiseled cheekbones or square cut jaw lines?
As I recall from the early days, the only time Men of Daytime sported any facial hair was if they were stranded on a deserted island (Alan Spaulding) or returning from presumed death (Bill Bauer) only to shave once they'd surprised the residents of their town. Of course, beards represented (and still do) the Anti-Hero. Bo, Patch and sometimes Luke Spencer could change up their facial hair status seemingly at will, as dictated by storyline--kudos to their Testosterone--but they were always considered bad boys. Imagine what Archie Bunker would have to say if any one of them walked in to 704 Hauser Street (ALL IN THE FAMILIY) with their long hair, goatees and ripped jeans. Times haven't changed so much. They still trim way down for special events. When AMC's Dimitri bared his face and left his Van Dyke in the bathroom sink, was he in essence being castrated by Erica Kane?? No one ever rocked a set of sideburns like "Dark Shadows'" Quentin, David Selby --even if they were glued on. Of course, he WAS a werewolf.
It wasn't really until GL's Dr. Jim Reardon, played by Michael Woods, that we saw an upstanding citizen with a (very) full face of hair. And did the nurses of Cedars Hospital swoon! Was it because of his bedside manner, dreamy blue eyes or the eschewing of razors that had them so hot and bothered? That opened the door for the Men of Soaps to start letting it all hang out...nice guys wear beards too! AW's John Hudson, even though he showed up in Bay City as a damaged war vet, was one of the great Leading Men of the 80s. So too was GH's Mac...until Felicia did her best Delilah to his Samson and sheared him down to size. GL's Josh Lewis...the ultimate good guy!
Some guys dabble with it...Adam Newman and even esteemed Mac Cory had Fuzzy Phases, only to return to cleaner faces once their kissing co-stars or Upper Management complained. Mac, like Victor Newman or Miles Cavanaugh, decided to stick with the "mustache only" status. When Ron Raines settled in as GL's Alan Spaulding, he also settled in to his own look for the character...which included an always-immaculate beard & 'stache. It worked for Ron and it worked for the part.
So who are/were some of your favorite "Beards of Daytime" (and don't say "Gabi from DOOL!")? And who do you think might benefit from a little vacation from the razor? Soap up the lather for a furry frolic down Memory Lane with the "Beard Clippings" below.
And if you'd like to support my "SeptemBeard," visit http://septembeard.org/team/952/.
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International entertainment journalist NELSON ASPEN got his start in Daytime TV and still keeps tabs on all things soaps! The author of several books, including DINNER AT NELSON'S and HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: EXPOSED!, he broadcasts the latest showbiz news and celebrity interviews around the world daily. You may visit him at www.nelsonaspen.com