The Ten Greatest Moustaches Of All Time


Most adult males can grow a moustache on their top lip. Very few can grow a tash of legendary status.

Even those who can grow a full moustache need to be able to wear it well. They need to carry it with style, make it part of their persona. It needs to be worn with class and help define them. These men have managed that feat.

Frank Zappa

Zappa’s moustache was so iconic, it became his logo. Moustache purists may say he shouldn’t be on the list because his soul patch isn’t technically a moustache. I don’t listen to them because I don’t think there are such a thing as moustache purists. This style of moustache is actually known as an ‘imperial’. So there you go.

He was a funkjazzcomedyfreeform musician and anti-drug rockrebel, sure, but he was also one of a handful of men who could be identified by his moustache alone. That’s why he’s here.

 

Robin Olds

Brig. Gen. Robin Olds was, as wikipedia puts it, regarded among aviation historians, and his peers, as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, for both his air-fighting skills, and his reputation as a combat leader. He was also the owner of this tremendous, rebellious moustache.

As Robin Olds put it:

It became the middle finger I couldn’t raise in PR photographs. The mustache became my silent last word in the verbal battles I was losing with higher headquarters on rules, targets, and fighting the war.

For his services to the silent power to the moustache (as well as to his country), Robin Olds has earned his place on this list.

Tom Selleck

Magnum, PI made Tom Selleck a household name. Around the same time, Tom Selleck’s face made his moustache equally famous. It’s a cultural reference point for anyone who watched TV in the 80s.

Tom Selleck and his moustache

Tom is a very hairy man. His moustache makes up a big part of his charming, cheeky smile. For a while in the late 80s / early 90s, Tom shaved off his moustache and his career plummeted. It wasn’t until 1996 that his international fame returned when he starred in Friends – WITH A MOUSTACHE. Just saying. (Burt Reynolds would have nudged Tom off the list if he didn’t have so much good work sans-tash. Deliverance, anyone? )

Tom Selleck’s moustache

Salvador Dali

Clocks that melt and a pencil thin handlebar moustache. It could only be Salvador Dali – the surreal-facial-hair-wearing, Franco-supporting eccentric.

His flamboyancy was represented on his top lip throughout his life and beyond. His body was exhumed following a paternity suit. The embalmer reported that Dali’s moustache was still intact. For continuing to sport his moustache post-death, Dali’s commitment has earned him his place on this list.

Terry-Thomas

Terry-Thomas defined a cad in comedic form for a generation. Harold Lloyd was a pair of glasses and a smile. Thomas was a gap-tooth grin and a neat moustache. Some may suggest that his tash played second fiddle to his tooth-gap, but the moustache was a comedic choice. Finely trimmed and shaped, it cemented the association between dodgy lip hair and being a complete rotter. Anyone who leaves that much of an impact on the world has a place here.

Ron Mael

Ron’s one of three people who famously wore a toothbrush moustache. One of the others is Charlie Chaplin, and I’m not going to honour the third with a mention.

The Mael brothers formed Sparks and Ron’s serious, seated keyboard playing style has earned him a place in rock history. Paul McCartney imitated him in his video for Coming Up. The image of Ron staring into the camera on Top of the Pops performing Beat the Clock bore itself into my seven year old brain. While he is undeniably a rock icon, it was also good to learn that he’s also a thoroughly nice guy from Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brother documentary.

Peter Wyngarde

It’s surely only a matter of time until someone somewhere makes a film about Peter Wyngarde. There’s so much mystery about it that his date & place of birth, and even his real name is all disputed. What we do know is that Wyngarde (born Cyril Goldbert, possibly) was a hell of a style icon. From being a child held in a Chinese internment camp to appearing with Alec Guinness in Hamlet, Wyngarde’s youth was a rollercoaster ride. He became a household name in the early 70s as the James Bond-esque Jason King. He went on to appear in the film Flash Gordon (where his moustache was criminally hidden behind a mask) , The Two Ronnies, Doctor Who, The Lenny Henry Show (!) and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. His personal life was beset by scandal and questionable choices. (He was setting the trend for illicit meetings in public toilets long before George Michael thought of it.)

Wyngarde’s moustache was on the droopy side but it worked perfectly with his big hair, large face and huge lapels. You can’t really picture his face working without it. For all the things that moustache must have seen in it’s lifetime, Wyngarde and his tash deserve their place on this page.

Tom Skerritt

Tom’s on this list even though his moustache isn’t particularly extravagant. Here’s here because he is proof that some people grow a moustache, and some folk wear the hell out of a moustache.

Tom had already demonstrated his facial hair wearing skills when he appeared in Alien with a stunning beard. His moustache should have got a best-supporting actor nomination for Top Gun. It conveyed authority and rank, letting you know that he was commanding officer and instructor of Top Gun. That’s what that tash did. It also got him married to Sally Field in Steel Magnolias, which is just plus points where plus points aren’t needed.

Lemmy

It’s Lemmy, innit.

Ray Szuster*

The Szuster family photos are a trip through an era where hair was king. Look at Ray’s hair here (picture with the lovely young Rosemary). Is he Jesus? A missing member of the Allman Brothers? Maybe! The 70s were an era where it was cool to look homeless hence the popularity of long hair and unshaved faces, but look at Ray. The hair is clean, the beard sculpted. This is style.

By the 80s, the long hair had gone along with the beard, but the moustache remained. It survived as a token – a thread that led back to his rebellious years. Fast forward to the present day and the moustache has now departed, but it still lives on in our minds.

 

*Ray is my father-in-law.

2 Comments

  1. Rosemary Szuster
    11 November 2021
    Reply

    Very interesting read. Could you not find any pictures of Ray in the eighties with his moustache?

    • 13 November 2021
      Reply

      Updated with an 80s tash pic!

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