There are many reasons why a man grows a beard. A study conducted by Braun showed that 60% of the men polled grew a beard out of convenience, which fits most of the stars on this list. Others stepped out with a beard after retiring, and a few may have forgotten to shave after experiencing a setback. For better or worse, these gentlemen grew a beard. #6 Was dubbed a “failure beard” after the candidate lost his campaign for president.
Was Jon Hamm’s Beard a Strategic Move?
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Jon Hamm’s beard is a fan favorite. Esquire wrote of Hamm’s beard: “The beard is thick enough to make a statement, but also remains kempt.”
The actor played clean-shaven Don Draper on Mad Men for eight seasons, from 2007-2015. His beard marked the end of Draper, and what some speculated as a good move to prevent being typecast in his popular role.
Leonardo DiCaprio Wins An Oscar and Retires
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Leonardo DiCaprio started his acting career in 1989 and became a heartthrob for many young girls in the ’90s. The industry freaked out when he finally won his first Oscar in 2016. During his acceptance speech, beard intact, he led viewers to believe that he was retiring from acting. DiCaprio said, “After years and years of hard work, this is the end of it all.”
Now he’s focused on protecting the environment through the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a non-profit he established in 1998. DiCaprio’s facial hair takes many shapes, so you never know what you’ll see next.
There’s Something Different About Jim Carrey
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In 2017, Carrey appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and talked about retiring from acting. He said that he was ready to step back from the industry and appreciate his life. But all people want to talk about is his beard.
“Everywhere I go, people talk about the beard,” he told Kimmel. “They go, ‘what are you doing? Why are you growing a beard?’ It’s like they can’t really think about anything else. It’s just not cohesive. There’s something different about me, and it’s that [expletive] beard.”
Alec Baldwin’s Silver Stubble
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The eldest of the Baldwin brothers has had his fair share of run-ins with the media. Alec Baldwin has been quoted saying he’s fed up with being a celebrity in New York City and the invasion of privacy that comes with it. Maybe he was attempting going into hiding by growing a beard.
The actor grows out his facial hair on and off, between roles. His beard is usually short and well-kept, matching his silver fox hair.
Baldwin had a feud with another bearded actor on this list!
Beard It Like Beckham
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It’s worth noting that David Beckham was rated Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine with his beard. The retired professional soccer player has turned heads with various hair and facial hair styles over the years, and it seems he can do no wrong.
In fact, Beckham’s beard looks so good there were even rumors swirling around that he had a beard transplant. Nice try, Hollywood. His beard is au naturel.
The “Al Gore Failure Beard”
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After finishing his term as Vice President of the United States, Al Gore set his sights on campaigning for the 2000 presidential election. As we know, he didn’t win the race. Once the loss was confirmed, people couldn’t help but notice that Gore grew a beard.
The New York Times called it “an achievement beard” for not having to worry about a campaign anymore. Others dubbed it the “Al Gore Failure Beard” for having not won the election. They compared his beard to one that someone grows when they lose their job.
See which actor grew a beard for a role and was totally bashed by the press for it.
Stephen Colbert’s Retired Host Beard
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Stephen Colbert rocks dark hair with a white beard. Following in David Letterman and Jon Stewart’s footsteps, Colbert retired from his role as host of The Colbert Report and cozied up with a beard.
Some say he grew out his beard for a role as a Priest on The Mindy Project. Either way, fans agreed that it suits the comedian well.
Letterman’s beard isn’t as kempt as Colbert’s, as you’ll see.
Pierce Brosnan Likes to be Bearded
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In Die Another Day Pierce Brosnan is seen with a long beard after 007 is captured and put in a North Korean prison. Otherwise, Brosnan stayed cleanly shaven throughout most of his career.
Now at 64 years old, Brosnan grew a beard for his role in The Son. He told ET, “The beard progressively grows throughout the piece. So by episode ten, it’s a fairly big old piece of shrubbery around my face. I grew very fond of the beard, and so did my wife.”
Kobe Bryant Bowed Out With a Beard
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Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA in April 2016. The basketball great had a tough time stepping off the court professionally, so he grew a beard to ease into retirement. At only 37 years old when he retired, Bryant isn’t exactly hanging his hat up.
This is probably why his retirement beard is short and groomed. After all, he’s making red carpet appearances and needs to look sharp. In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short, “Dear Basketball.”
David Letterman’s Beard is Above Average
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On average, a man’s beard will grow 5.5 inches per year. We’d say David Letterman is above average. The retired late night television host signed off from Late Night with David Letterman on May 20, 2015, and his beard soon followed.
Letterman told GQ how he felt about the beard in an interview, “I think there’s a bundle of emotional manifestations with the beard that I have not yet been able to fully examine. Whenever I happen to see a picture of myself, I think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the guy you want to be.'”
Jon Stewart Made Some Lifestyle Changes
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Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show from 1999-2015. The actor worked long hours to make the show a success and when he was ready to take a step back, Stewart shifted gears into retirement. Along with his wife, he bought a 12-acre farm in New Jersey to care for abused animals. He also became a vegetarian and grew out his beard.
It was only a few months after Letterman had retired and grown his beard when Stewart followed suit. In his first TV appearance after retirement, Stewart said, “I grew a beard because everybody who quits a talk show grows a beard.”
Will Ferrell Shaves Conan O’Brien’s Beard
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Comedian Conan O’Brien is one of the most famous redheads of all time. And while he never retired, his red beard deserves a place on this list. For the most part, O’Brien is cleanly shaven on late night TV. But now and then he lets the beard grow out.
In 2011, fellow comedian Will Ferrell threatened to shave off O’Brien’s beard in a recorded video. When he appeared on the show a couple of weeks later, Ferrell made good on his promise. It was pure comedy.
Mel Gibson’s Beard Has A Lot Going On
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While Mel Gibson’s beard makes him look older, his girlfriends keep getting younger. Gibson went with the gray ducktail beard, a unique type of beard that not every man can grow. This kind of beard is the one you stroke when you’re deep in thought.
Gibson held onto his beard for 18 months before going on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where he got it shaved off live on TV by an audience member. But, it always finds its way back.
Matthew McConaughey’s Beard Was Dissed
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Matthew McConaughey’s beard has not received praise as others have on this list. The actor showed up at the Oscars in 2015 sporting some scraggly facial hair, and people had things to say about it. Even after the media learned he was growing it out for a Civil War drama, they still didn’t like it.
Later that year he attended the Cannes Film Festival and everyone saw that it only got longer and gnarlier since the Academy Awards. GQ magazine commented: “Unless you’re also getting paid millions to leave your beard untamed, keep it under control. Beards and suits are at their best when they place nice with one another.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger Isn’t a Beard Guy
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Much like Alec Baldwin’s beard, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s isn’t long or thick, but it’s there. The former actor, governor, and bodybuilder surfaced with a beard in 2017. It turned out to be for his role in Aftermath.
The last time fans saw the actor grow out his facial hair was in 2012 after his separation from ex-wife Maria Shriver. That beard was also said to be for a role, but others speculate it’s more related to the Al Gore Failure Beard.
George Clooney’s Part-Time Beard
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Actor George Clooney is another man, like Beckham, who can do no wrong. Clooney was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine in 1997 at the age of 36, and again in 2006 at the age of 45.
Now 56 years old, Clooney goes back-and-forth between beard and clean-shaven with the occasional goatee. He’s also spending more time with his family and engaged in politics. And with two toddlers, who has time to shave?
Ricky Martin Gets Comfortable in His Skin
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Hailing from Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin lit up the stage in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Martin toured around the world for years and, in 2007, he decided he needed a break. Martin took a three-year hiatus. Typically a clean-cut guy, he started to let loose and feel more comfortable in his skin.
Some of his relaxed nature may stem from publically coming out as gay in 2010. After which, Martin has started a family with his partner and let the beard grow out.
Shia LeBeouf’s Unruly Beard
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Shia LeBeouf began acting and doing stand-up comedy when he was ten years old. His career quickly took off and LeBeouf earned numerous awards. When he got into his 20’s, LeBeouf fell into a tortured-artist stage. He became increasingly opinionated when it came to politics, racked up a few arrests, and was diagnosed with PTSD.
While working through it, LeBeouf grew a beard and it looks like he won’t be shaving anytime soon. Baldwin and LeBeouf had a feud that led to LeBeouf’s firing from his role in Orphans. But in a beard fight, we’d say LeBeouf takes the cake.
The Wild Card Beard: Eminem
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Rapper Eminem hit the hip-hop scene in a big way when Dr. Dre took him under his wing and recorded The Marshall Mathers LP. He was incredibly successful and the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States.
Now with his reputation solidified and his net worth through the roof, Eminem doesn’t have to prove himself anymore. He’s probably the most unlikely person on this list to end up with a beard.
The Superstitious Beard: Brian Wilson
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Brian Wilson was pitching for the San Francisco Giants in 2010 when he started growing his infamous beard. The Giants were in the race for the pennant and Wilson decided to grow it out to continue winning in the playoffs. His beard became a big deal to Giants fans, as they donned fake beards in support.
In 2013 he left the Giants for their rival team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he only lasted one complete season. Afterward, Wilson reemerged without a beard, completely shocking fans. So in this case, he was a bearded guy who became cleanly shaven.