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14 iconic bald leaders — with and without their hair

The image of an iconic bald leader — like Winston Churchill or Mahatma Gandhi — can be so powerful that it's easy to think they never had hair at all. But all of history's great bald men once had protection from the elements.

These are 14 of history's most powerful bald men, with and without their hair, along with their thoughts on all follicular matters.

1) Dwight D. Eisenhower, bald and with hair

(Getty/Military Portrait)

Ike reportedly workshopped baldness cures with George S. Patton. Patton was once caught exposing his balding head to a strange blue light, and he admitted he bought the light because he thought it might stop him from going bald.

2) Winston Churchill, bald and with hair


In The Last Lion, Churchill said, "A man of my limited resources cannot presume to have a hairstyle. Get on and cut it."

3) Mahatma Gandhi, bald and with hair


When he had it, Gandhi cut his own hair. In South Africa, an English barber refused to cut it because of Gandhi's race, so he tried to do it himself. Apparently, he was bad at it — his friends joked it looked like rats had been at it. Gandhi took the joke, and he used the entire experience to extend his understanding of the untouchables in India.

4) Vladimir Lenin, bald and with hair

(Getty/Public Domain)

Apparently, Lenin's wife cut what remained of his hair after he went bald. After the Soviet leader's death, his remaining hair was darkened to fix a very short haircut she'd given him.

5) Benito Mussolini, bald and with hair

(Getty/Public Domain)

Mussolini claimed that his beard (and, presumably, his head) was especially tough to shave. According to the dictator, Gillette blades were the best for the job.

6) Nikita Khrushchev, bald and with hair


Reportedly, Joseph Stalin often cleaned his pipe by knocking it on Khrushchev's bald head.

7) Mikhail Gorbachev, bald and with hair


Gorbachev's birthmark became a meme before memes existed. People even got birthmark tattoos at the 1999 Venice Biennial.

8) Martin Van Buren, bald and with hair


Apparently, Van Buren's hair was blonde and curly when he was a child.

9) Dick Cheney, bald and with hair


In his memoir, Cheney noted that his grandfather had white hair, so not all Cheneys were bald.

10) Vladimir Putin, bald and with hair


Putin effortlessly completes the bald-hairy theory of Russian politics: that Russians unerringly alternate between bald and hairy leaders.

11) Rupert Murdoch, bald and with hair


According to one biographer, Murdoch dyes his own hair.

12) Jeff Bezos, bald and with hair


According to one Quora user, when Bezos lived in New York, he had "auburn hair and showed [coworkers] a funny hat that went well with his hair."

13) Cory Booker, bald and with hair


The Twitter-friendly politician considers his shaved head a cautionary measure.

14) John McCain, bald and with hair


McCain's nickname was "the white tornado," because he developed white hair relatively young.

Correction: This post originally featured a different image of Vladimir Lenin with hair, but it was a wig he wore during a thrilling escape.

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