11 Best Beards on Television

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Beards, love ’em like we do or hate them they are starting to show up everywhere.  Here is our list of the top 11 most noteworthy beards on tv.

best beards on tv
Photo: History Channel
  1. Rollo Lothbrok, Vikings – played by Clive Standen

While the fraternal feud between Ragnar Lothbrok and Rollo Lothbrok on Vikings seems to usually come out with Ragnar ahead, beards are one category where Rollo can claim victory over his brother. Rollo’s beard has withstood fire and bloodshed and only emerge thicker and stronger – as if it feeds and grows on the havoc wreaked by the vicious raider.

Photo: starpulse.com
Photo: starpulse.com
  1. Wolf Blitzer, The Situation Room and Wolf, on CNN

Anyone with a name like “Wolf Blitzer” probably emerged from the womb with a five o-clock shadow. It’s no coincidence that the face of CNN should have a beard on it. Beards communicate wisdom, authority, and importance. Wolf is both a messenger and a sage. He speaks the news with a presence of character that rivals other news anchors. You would too, if your face was wrapped in the thick white shag of a polar bear cub.

Photo: HBO
Photo: HBO
  1. Tormund Giantsbane, Game of Thrones – played by Kristofer Hivju

We are spoiled for choice when trying to find great beards on a show like Game of Thrones. Khal Drogo, Davos Seaworth, Daario Naharis, and Tyrion Lannister all deserve honorable mentions. However, there is simply no topping the explosion of badass that is Tormund Giantsbane’s bright red beard. We’ve mentioned him before in a previous post, but his beard is so epic it’s worth mentioning again!  It looks as if actor Kristofer Hivju burst into flames but is keeping it from burning his face through sheer force of will. Is it any wonder that Tormund is known as a slayer of giants and husband to bears? A man who grows a beard like that can’t help but become a legend.

Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC by 2.0
  1. Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes’ beard has come and gone during his many years of trying to survive in a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic landscape. A beard says a lot about the man who wears it, and Rick’s beard has been used by the creators of the show to give us clues to Rick’s mental state season after season. At full strength, it has been the beard of a true wild man – lost, given up on civilization, without direction or hope. When he started out, he was a clean-shaven sheriff who believed, perhaps naively, in law and order and a moral code that was then called into question by the various events of the show. Most of the time, however, Rick’s beard is a salt and pepper mantle of responsibility. It shows his strength, masculinity, and leadership of the group. Sources confirm that although he has recently shaved it again, the beard will return next season. We can’t wait.

  1. Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty

The patriarch of the Robertson family and star of the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty has come under fire for some of his political opinions, but we’re not here to talk politics; we’re here to talk beards. Phil has a true outdoorsman’s beard that harkens back to the age of fur trappers and gold prospectors. Hunting for a living and raising a family of precocious rednecks will thicken a man’s beard like furry cement. Of course, if you don’t want to spend your days covered in sweat and swamp water, there are also pills for that sort of thing (link)

Photo: Cinemax
Photo: Cinemax
  1. Dr, Algernon Edwards, The Knick – played by Andre Holland

In a time when black confederate slaves were still alive and the notion of eugenics was gaining support across the world, Dr. Algernon Edwards is a black man in New York City who dares to be not just a doctor, but one of the most brilliant surgeons of his time. Raised in the slums and educated abroad, Dr. Edwards grew from nothing to be a brave, worldly, and intelligent rebel. He also grew a thick black beard that mirrors his strength of character. He fights racism and diseases with equal tenacity and occasionally takes a break from revolutionizing modern medicine to knock out fools in bar fights. The end of Season 2 saw him laid low with a serious eye injury that threatens his career as a surgeon, but we suspect there’s no keeping this man, or his beard, down.

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC
  1. Frank Delfino, How to Get Away with Murder – played by Charlie Weber

Frank Delfino is a street-smart Philly native whose connections and knowledge prove invaluable to the law firm anytime he can stop sleeping with his students long enough to give a damn. He’s a rich and robust character with a beard that is somewhat understated, yet crucial to his purpose. Another thing we love so much about Charlie Weber’s beard is that it has grown upon him while he grew as an actor. Before How to Get Away with Murder, Charlie’s biggest acting job was on the frivolous 90210 reboot, which was just as terrible as everyone expected it to be and ended quickly. In that unimpressive show, he was a smooth-faced man-child trying to play a high school boy. Now, as Frank Delfino, Charlie Weber is a grown man with a grown man’s complexity, depth, sophistication, and of course – a grown man’s beard. We expect great things from Weber’s career and facial hair.

Photo: HBO
Photo: HBO
  1. Saul Berenson, Homeland – played by Mandy Patinkin

When you think of a thick-bearded man with a vast network of spies at his disposal who knows when you’re naughty or nice, the first name to pop in your head is bound to be Saul Berenson. If it was Santa Claus, grow up and start watching real television. Saul is both the mentor and protector of protagonist Carrie Matheson in Homeland and serves as a God-like or paternal figure to many other characters on the show. He’s a man of mystery, wisdom, and power. Little is known of his past or his motives, but everyone at the CIA respects and fears him. His beard adorns him with command and clout.

Photo: FX
Photo: FX
  1. Judge Lance Ito, The People Vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story – played by Kenneth Choi

It’s nice to be able to honor a real man as well as an actor in this same entry. Judge Lance Ito, who presided over the world famous O.J. Simpson trial in real life, had a beard as strong as his gavel and as black as his robes. Kenneth Choi has brought that beard to life in The People Vs. OJ Simpson and portrayed his character as a tough but fair administrator of justice.

Photo: The CW Network
Photo: The CW Network
  1. Vandal Savage, Legends of Tomorrow – played by Casper Crump

The immortal Vandal Savage is a perennial DC villain who has fought, and bested, hundreds of different heroes. He began life as a cro-magnon caveman, which means he probably already had a great beard before strange radiation turned him into a undying supergenius. Through the eons of man’s time on this planet, Vandal Savage has ruled vast empires under various names you might recognize – Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, and Vlad the Impaler. Supervillain Lex Luthor believes Vandal may have been the first-ever man to commit cannibalism, back in his pre-history days. A man of such timeless power requires a beard as black and majestic as the abyss of his soul. Casper Crump has done that wonderfully in his portrayal.

Chris Hardwick

  1. Chris Hardwick, @Midnight

After looking like a twelve year-old for the past several years, late night’s favorite fake game show host has grown a nice dark layer of adulthood. It’s hard to say whether he’ll stick with it, but we’re optimistic. If men like Kyle Kinane and Mike Lawrence have taught us anything, it’s there need to be more beards in comedy.

Have a different opinion?  Want to add someone to the list?  Leave us a comment and let us know how we did.

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Colin Rowe is a writer and beard enthusiast from Santa Fe, NM. In 2009 he traveled with over a thousand members of Beard Team USA to compete in the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Anchorage, Alaska. He took fourth place in the Musketeer category. These days he sports a beard of the Verdi style and is RuggedRebel.com’s resident expert on the world of competitive facial hair.

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