William Shatner Kept Stealing Toupees From the 'Star Trek' Set

William Shatner Kept Stealing Toupees From the 'Star Trek' Set

A reporter once asked Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, why Captain Picard was bald. "Surely, they would have cured baldness by the 24th century," the reporter commented, to which Roddenberry responded, "They were too busy trying to find a cure for your face"… in the unauthorized biography that I'm currently writing. In real life, though, the man actually said, "In the 24th century, they wouldn't care," which is a beautiful sentiment that gets to the very heart of Star Trek. Unfortunately for him, William Shatner was born in the 20th century, so he very much cared about being bald, and he dealt with it by stealing his official Captain Kirk toupees.

NBC, Paramount

Wait, couldn’t he just make his own from his shaved-off chest hair?

Shatner reportedly started going bald at age 9, and by the time he'd been cast as Kirk in the original Star Trek series, he was regularly wearing toupees or "the merkins of the head," as nobody calls them. Producer Robert H. Justman noticed this immediately upon meeting Shatner because of how shitty-looking his wig was. So he commissioned two professional hairpieces for the star of the show so that he wouldn't look like he just rubbed some glue on his head and rolled around a barbershop floor. These were some fine-ass toupees. We're talking about the Cadillacs of fake hair, with just one of them costing the show $1,500 in today's money. So it was a good thing that Justman ordered two because one of them went *cough* "missing" after the first season finished shooting. 

Justman says he knew immediately that it was Shatner. The toupees were made especially for him. They didn't fit anyone else. It had to have been the man behind Kirk unless someone on the show was secretly constructing a Shatner love doll. Now, a Spock/Nimoy love doll? That makes sense, but no one would go to so much trouble just to pretend-bang Kirk. Justman said he slyly confronted Shatner about it to let him know that he knew. It resulted in jack shit since toupees kept going missing from the Star Trek set.

NBC, Paramount

William Shatner’s locker inspection, 1967, colorized.

Between the show's second and third season (1968), Justman sent a letter to Roddenberry, informing him that Shatner had appropriated four toupees total, which altogether cost ~$4,500 in modern money. He also mentioned that they probably won't want them back, probably because if just 1% of all the fans dehydrating for Spock eventually settled for a night with Kirk, it'd mean that the man's toupees were constantly marinating in Shatner's sex sweat. And they just didn't make rubber gloves thick enough back then.

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Top Image: Paramount Television


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