Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Why do the likes of Burt Reynolds and Mickey Rourke pay a fortune to look like burns victims?

A friend has sent me a circular email containing a dozen or so "then and now" photos of American entertainment stars. Some of them are old guys letting themselves go (Arnold Schwarzenegger with a gut and Jack Nicholson with man boobs) - and formerly svelte lovelies who are now piling on the pounds (Kirstie Alley and Linda Ronstadt). 

Well - fine! 

We all tend to pork out a bit as we get older (some of us, of course, start the process when we're about 14). In fact, it's vaguely heartening to see pictures of well-known people who frankly just don't  give a damn about keeping up appearances, having evidently decided that the pleassure to be extracted from three double cheeseburgers with bacon and fries, twelve Krispy Kreme donuts and two gallons of Håagen Dazs are worth a reduced income and the occasional unkind remark. (Unless, of course, they end up sitting next to you on the tube, or need to be winched into the ambulance with the specially-reinforced floor that rushes them to hospital in a diabetic coma every few days - there are limits.)

But the whole world, every one of us who isn't directly involved in the American entertainment industry -  seven billion of us in total -  have one simple question that's been bugging  us for years. Why would anyone who looks pretty normal pay a fortune to end up looking like they've been hideously disfigured in a fire? Do their surgeons give them  a choice of treatments which include House Fire, Burning Car, Barbecue Accident and Struck By Lightning

Michael Jackson had an excuse - he was deranged and off his tits on a variety of Class A drugs. Mickey Rourke might just be a few stamps short of a Stanley Gibbons catalogue (and, to be fair, it meant he could play a scarred old professional wrestler without requiring make-up). But Burt Reynolds? I mean, did he really intend ending up looking like this? When he looks at his publicity stills, does he see something different from what the rest of us see? Does he imagine we won't notice? 

Ditto Wayne Newton (above) who is the biggest grossing entertainer in the history of Las Vegas (sort of MOR pop country). Does he seriously think his audience is sitting out there thinking, "Wow, that Wayne - I don't know how he does it, but he hasn't aged one little bit!"

And don't any of them have someone who's sufficiently fond of them to say, "Pleasse don't do this to yourself!"


  1. It's the same with men who wear syrups:you can always tell and you can't stop looking. What's the point? Own up baldy. Grow old gracefully. It's even more sad to see the number of formerly beautiful women who now have trout pouts and fixed rictus grins thanks to over-enthusiastic surgeons.

    Wayne Newton, like Jerry Lewis and the Smothers Brothers, is in that category that must appeal to Americans but is lost on most of the rest of the world. I remember seeing him on the TV when I was in my teens and wondering how any one so annoying could make a living as an "entertainer". To judge by your picture, he's made enough over the years to go in for some expensive facial experimentation, which has made it look as if Elizabeth Taylor has been hit in the face with a large frying pan.

  2. ex-KCS. I couldn't agree with you more. Well put!

    If you want to give yourself a real fright google "Jocelyn Wildstein" and observe what $2m worth of plastic surgery can do to the human face. Or look up the current manifestations of my old hero Steve Segal [the pioneer of the bald at the front/ponytail at the back look]. Old Steve's ruse to cover up his corpulence is to wear bigger and bigger jackets that extend to his knees. Tony Curtis gave up his hair-piece and resorted to wearing an enormous white stetson even at home.

    Mind you, in some cases a spot of plastic surgery wouldn't go amiss. Lord Prescott and Clare Short [is she a baroness now?] or Lib Dem posh-boy Lembit Opek [Old Estonian], for example. I sometimes wonder if actor Colin Firth has been under the knife due to the complete immobility of his features?

  3. Actually, the French have always been keen on Jerry Lewis, so I guess Wayne Newton mght also be big in Nancy. Or maybe not, given this unsettling 1968 performance of "Danke Schoen", where he bears an uncanny resemblamnce to Canadian Country chanteuse KD Lang. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUryeDLpY_c Creepy!

    Wow, Star Gazer, that Jocelyn Wildstein is hot!!! Actually, I now can't get her horrifiying image out of my head. As for the great Steven Seagal, I catch glimpses of him when I switch over, un beknownst, to one of his movies, beguiled by their excellent titles (the best thing a bout them). This usually involves him squeaking threats at an evidently much younger, stronger fitter opponent while wearting one of the tents you mention. He then carefully adopts a martial arts pose and the facial expression of someone trying to pass an absolute monster before his pudgy, deadly hands wreak havoc (without him having to move too much). Pure comedy gold!

    No title for Ms Short. I suspect she went to rejoin her Native Indian tribe before she could be ennobled by the Pale-Faces.