Stage & Dance

Bearded ones we know and love

Zach Galifianakis comes to the University of Kentucky on Friday night with a successful stand-up comedy career and standout performances in several movies, including The Hangover.

But you could argue that the crowning achievement of his career has been adding another great beard to the pantheon of pop culture mugs.

Affirmation of that came in his Saturday Night Live appearance on March 6, which included several jokes about Galifianakis' beard and showed him shaving it off before the final skit, appearing in that skit beardless, and then coming back to say farewell with a prosthetic beard.

We don't know whether Galifianakis will have his full beard back when he takes the Singletary Center stage Friday night for a sold-out show, but we're going to take this opportunity to recall some of pop culture's most memorable beards.

The icons

ZZ Top: Guitarist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill's chest-length beards (accidentally mutually grown during an early career tour break) starred in several memorable MTV videos in the 1980s. Note: Ironically, drummer Frank Beard doesn't have one.

Chuck Norris: The cheeky Web site Chucknorrisfacts.com tells us the red beard has life-giving power and conceals a third fist. Bow to the beard, weaklings!

Marvin Gaye: His music made him the thinking man's Motown artist, and the thin coat of facial hair enhanced the image.

Willie Nelson: There are early-career pictures of Willie without a beard, and they just look strange.

Late-career beards

Sean Connery: James Bond was clean-shaven, but most post-007 roles have featured his Scottish mug framed in white whiskers.

Al Gore: After two terms as vice president and a loss in the 2000 presidential contest, Gore emerged after a trip to Europe with a professorial-looking beard. It sent political prognosticators into a tizzy, wondering what the chin rug signaled for his political future.

Hulk Hogan: The good-guy pro wrestler always had blond whiskers. But in 1996, he took a dark turn, allying himself with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to form the villainous New World Order. To complete his bad-guy persona: a black beard that appeared to be sprayed on.

Ernest Hemingway: You can't be a hard-drinking, deep-thinking, salty sage of a writer without a Hemingway-esque beard. Trust us.

Joaquin Phoenix: When the actor showed up on David Letterman's show with sunglasses and a scraggly beard, eyebrows rose. It's been part of his bizarre "career change" act, flipping from movie star to hip-hop artist.

Beards to fit the part

Capt. Jack Sparrow: Johnny Depp has sported a variety of facial hairstyles over the years, but his Pirates of the Caribbean character has that distinctive pointy, beaded look.

Sonny Crockett: In the 1980s, Don Johnson's scruffy look on Miami Vice was the fashion trend that launched a million 5 o'clock shadows. It even launched a customized razor, the Miami Device.

Dumbledore and Hagrid from Harry Potter: For a series about kids, the Potter flicks gave us some memorable whiskers from Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, and Michael Gambon and the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore.

The Dude: Jeff Bridges has been in and out of beards over the years, including the one he sported in his Oscar-winning turn in Crazy Heart. But the unkempt whiskers were a signature of his Big Lebowski look.

Grizzly Adams: For some guy who lived in the wilderness, Dan Haggerty's mane sometimes was a bit too well-groomed on the 1970s NBC series, but you have to have a beard, however neat, for the "mountain man" look.

Uncle Jesse: Same goes for playing an old codger, which Denver Pyle did exceedingly well in Dukes of Hazzard — the TV show, not the stupid 2005 movie.

Jack Shephard from Lost: In one of the mind-bending drama's flash-forwards, the usually neat-and-tidy Matthew Fox became a pill-addicted slob, complete with scraggly beard.

George Clooney in Syriana: They always talk about pretty young starlets "getting ugly" and winning Oscars — see Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman. But scruffing up also made for Oscar gold for Clooney in Syriana.

Kentucky proud

Jane Devere: A Brooksville native, the 19th-century sideshow bearded lady known as Madame Devere made it into the Guinness Book of World Records with her 14-inch beard.

Abraham Lincoln: The mustacheless beard, part of the Kentucky native and 16th president's iconic look, is responsible for countless toy beards in souvenir shops.

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