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Chrome-Domed? Flaunt It, Baby

November 28, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ Drain clogged with what once was your hairline? Friends complaining about the reflection off your scalp? Women observing, ″He’s awfully cute ... too bad he’s losing his hair″?

Balderdash. Skin is in, so take pride in your pate, says Richard Sandomir, the anti-hairpiece activist who wrote the book on baldness.

″Bald men are the equal of haired men. I’m tired of people talking to the top of my head, or asking why I don’t use minoxidil. Keeping your head natural is the way of the ’90s,″ says Sandomir, author of ″Bald Like Me: The Hair- Raising Adventures of Baldman.″

Sandomir, 33, has watched his follicles falling for the past 13 years. But the self-proclaimed ″Baldman″ isn’t turning to toupees or rubbing Rogaine on his head. Instead, he’s asking his chrome-domed associates to rise up against the haired.

Answering the call: some of America’s best-known baldies, including weatherman Willard Scott and sports announcer Dick Vitale.

″It’s almost like a brotherhood, like people who pass each other on Harleys. It’s simpatico,″ Scott says of baldness. ″You’re just one of the group. ... Bald people know each other that way.″

Willard, by the way, started balding at the tender age of 20. Vitale started losing his hair at about the same age, and the hyperactive color man couldn’t be happier.

″By 30, I was bald big time, baby. But I was sexy. ... Bald is beautiful, baby, bald is sexy. No rugs get on my scalp. It’s what I am. I’m a bald, one- eyed wacko,″ says Vitale, who wears a glass eye.

This is what Sandomir lives for: the few, the proud, the hairless. Sandomir, born Sept. 4, 1957, started going bald in 1978. By 1985, he was resigned to a world without hair, amen.

Sandomir’s idols - his princes of pate, his rajahs of recession - are those guys who are bald and boastful. Indeed, he provides an 10-man list of the patron saints of baldness.

The honorees include Scott, Vitale, ″Today″ show co-host Joe Garagiola, U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, ad exec Jerry Della Femina, syndicated columnist Mike Royko, best-selling author Dr. Bernie Siegal, retired NFL great Y.A. Tittle, actor Ken Howard and actor Louis Gossett Jr.

Gone but definitely not forgotten: Yul Brynner, ″his Royal Baldness″ and a personal idol. ″The most fully evolved bald man to ever walk the planet, God rest his pate,″ Sandomir says reverently.

He goes on to dish the dirt about who’s under a rug: Burt Reynolds and Frank Sinatra own about 20 pieces each. Howard Cosell doesn’t take care of his. Charlton Heston owns one of the world’s most frightening toupees. William Shatner’s piece is indiscernible to all but the most practiced eyes.

He also met Sy Sperling (who declares in TV ads shown around the country: ’I’m not only the president of the Hair Club for Men. I’m a client.″) Sy is a nice guy, Sandomir concedes, but ″he remains an enemy of my people.″

The author did have one unpleasant experience: Telly Savalas, the ″baldo di tutti baldi,″ declined to sit for an interview. The ″Kojak″ star maintained that he’s not bald, he just chooses to shave his head.

″Incomprehensible 3/8″ complained Baldman. ″For 25 years now, Telly’s been the bald man’s bald man. He won’t talk about being the shining example of bald saintliness, a beacon for any of us who doubt the manly value of our bare pates.″

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