Movie Article

Dyeing for Their Art

Bleach blond -- Actors who've dyed their tresses for roles include Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando and Isabella Rossellini

As the aging, bleached-out doxy in The Grifters, Anjelica Huston carries on an honored tradition of performers who have returned to their roots for movie roles. As you can tell by the list of notable crossover movie blonds below, bleach can convey anything from innocence to depravity; instant versatility in a bottle, it has bestowed chameleonism on actors ranging from Brando to Elvis.

The Lady From Shanghai (1948)
With their marriage on the rocks, director-star Orson Welles cut off Rita Hayworth's trademark red tresses and made her a harsh blond temptress.

Hamlet (1948)
Laurence Olivier won a Best Actor Oscar as Shakespeare's flaxen-haired pouting prince.

The Young Lions (1958)
Marlon Brando goes deep Aryan as a tormented Nazi officer in the WWII epic.

From Russia With Love (1963)
Robert Shaw makes a creepy hit man named Red Grant in the second James Bond adventure.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Three heads are better: Peter Sellers as bald President Merkin Muffley, brunet Capt. Lionel Mandrake, and light-haired Dr. Strangelove.

Wild at Heart (1990)
David Lynch cast Isabella Rossellini as Perdita Durango, a bottle-blond mystery lady with evil roots.

Originally posted May 31, 1991 Published in issue #68 May 31, 1991 Order article reprints