Erin Richter
September 17, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It takes a brave man to portray one of history’s most respected military commanders, whose mammoth invasion of Europe turned the tides of WWII. Tom Selleck proved his mettle reporting for duty as General Dwight Eisenhower in A&E’s Ike with a daring, Emmy-nominated (anti)’do.

How did you prepare?

The acting trap is to do an impersonation. But you have to get in the ballpark physically, so I shaved my head. It’s not too good for work when you’re done filming.

Were you nervous about the transformation?

Good parts should scare you; actors always need to risk something.

What was it like being unrecognizable?

I stayed at an out-of-the-way little hotel until I realized, as I walked around Auckland, New Zealand, where we filmed, that nobody knew who I was. So I switched to the biggest tourist hotel and had a great old time being this bald guy in the corner.

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