Celebs Before and After Embracing Their Gray Hair

Having gray hair, especially in Hollywood, can often be perceived as meaning that someone is too old, or is no longer relevant. But there are a number of celebrities who have managed to embrace their gray hair, and keep their career!

In recent years, a trend of ‘going gray on purpose’ was started by young celebrities dying their hair silver or platinum white. But there are celebrities like Jamie Lee Curtis and Anderson Cooper who had gray hair before it was ever a fashion trend, and that’s what we’re celebrating!

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc 2003 in final friends season
Photo Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
Photo Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Matt LeBlanc, most famously known for his role of Joey on the popular sitcom Friends, is now rocking the silver locks, but it turns out he was hiding them long before now.

In interviews, LeBlanc has admitted to going gray while on Friends – as early as season two – and died his hair black in order to hide the gray. Joey Tribbiani probably could’ve rocked the silver fox look, maybe even using it to his advantage!

He Won’t Have A Career As A Colorist

Matt LeBlanc 2017 at CBS' Summer Soiree
Photo Credit: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

On a visit to The Late Late Show, LeBlanc talked about how in the first few seasons it started with a little black dye at the roots and temples, but eventually was needed for a little bit more than just touch ups…

There was once an incident where Matt tried to dye his hair himself at home, and ended up showing up to set with his ears dyed black! He eventually got the hang of it, but once the show ended LeBlanc gave up the process and decided to go au naturel.

George Clooney

George Clooney with Kelly Preston in 1985 at event
Photo Credit: Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

George Clooney is a gray-haired pioneer and the original Hollywood silver fox. Clooney walked so that other men like Andy Cohen and Steve Carell could run.

Like fine wine and cheese, Clooney just gets better with age. He continuously tops the lists of celebrities aging gracefully and despite being the 58-year-old father of two-year-old twins, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney’s husband doesn’t seem to be letting aging get the better of him.

Aging Gracefully

George Clooney in 2018 at Dolby Theatre receiving lifetime achievement award
Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner
Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner

We’ve come a long way from the curly haired mullet version of Clooney from The Facts of Life – gone but not forgotten – and it wasn’t until the mid-90s that we started to see inklings of the suave silver-haired man we see today.

Clooney’s portrayal of Dr. Doug Ross on the 1994 drama ER was the first time Clooney really showed off his graying roots, and it’s been all uphill from there.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis with Peter Coyote in West Hollywood 1985
Photo Credit: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Jamie Lee Curtis is the perfect example of a Hollywood woman accepting her age. She was born to have gray hair, truly. She’s been rocking her signature pixie cut since the 80s, and the peppered pixie came not too long afterward.

Curtis started to go gray in her 30s, and by the time her 41st birthday rolled around she decided she was done with trying to cover up her natural hair and quit dying it.

Urged Against Aging

Jamie Lee Curtis Comic-Con International 2015 20th Century Fox party
Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Aging is a part of life that women in general, but particularly in Hollywood, often try to slow down or avoid, but Jamie is an advocate for the opposite. Despite her representation at the time urging against her choice to embrace her gray, it seems to have worked out for her.

Curtis said in an interview that going gray helped her learn to focus on her whole appearance and focus on herself in general, rather than singling out one aspect of herself.

Steve Carell

Steve Carell 2005 at TCA Awards
Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

As previously stated, it is thanks to trailblazers like George Clooney that we as a society were able to welcome in the era of Steve Carrell and his new found silver status.

2017 and 2018 were two great years for Carell as he transformed from Michael Scott into his true form. When Steve debuted his salt and pepper look in 2017, the internet went wild, with many comparing his transformation to that of his character’s in Crazy Stupid Love.

From Carell To Clooney

Steve Carell in 2018 at UK Premiere of
Photo Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI
Photo Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI

In 2018 Steve stepped it up a notch by debuting a salt and pepper beard to go along with the rest of his look at the premiere for his film Beautiful Boy, and no one was upset about it.

Carell responded to the comments about him in an interview saying, “I am so sick of people looking at me for my physical attributes” but then later clarified “I’m busting with pride,” so don’t worry Twitter, you can keep making your jokes.

Anderson Cooper

anderson cooper before the silver hair
Photo Credit: Imgur
Photo Credit: Imgur

CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper has always been open about his signature gray-white hair, which started to come in when he was “around 21 or 22” according to his Instagram.

By his 30s he was rocking salt and pepper, which eventually evolved into his signature silver look we see today on the evening news. Cooper once described himself as a White Walker from Game of Thrones because he thinks his paleness is “a little too much.” Do you agree or disagree?

Unwilling Participant

anderson cooper at 12th annual CNN heroes
Photo Credit: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Cooper in a 2016 interview with People labeled himself as an “unwilling silver fox.” He has said he doesn’t like his gray hair and wishes he was still a brunette, but he’s also unwilling to dye his hair because he believes it would be a way of “advertising your desperation” since everyone would know he’s dying away the gray.

Anderson says there are advantages to premature gray though because gray hair can often be associated with maturity and stability. He also says it means he gets to cut in line sometimes!

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno 1962 with academy award
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rita Moreno has had an acting career longer than most people in America have been alive, and that means she’s had to adapt her style through the decades. She’s been performing on Broadway since 1945 and started her TV and movie career in 1950.

Moreno is a mother and grandmother, and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. She’s currently starring on Netflix’s One Day At A Time and she’ll be in the 2020 West Side Story film. She originally starred in the 1961 version as Anita, and she won an Academy Award for her performance.

Good Genes And A Great Haircut

Rita Moreno 2018 at 33rd imagen awards
Photo Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images
Photo Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images

The only sign of her older age is the gray hair, but it’s surprising to hear that her actual age is 87. Moreno manages to make her silver locks look youthful and fun, which is no easy feat.

Rita said in an interview with Oprah that the secret behind pulling off her gray-haired look is a terrific haircut, and her Puerto Rican genes, so the rest of us appear to be out of luck.

President Barack Obama

President Barack and Stevie Wonder 2009 at Library of Congress
Photo Credit: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Who would’ve thought that running a country would take a toll on a person’s body? If you look at pictures of President Barack Obama when he was elected vs. eight years later when he delivered his final State of the Union speech, there is definitely a noticeable difference: President Obama seems to have gone gray on us.

In 2018 at the unveiling of his Presidential Portrait, the former President joked that he tried to convince the artist to portray him with less gray hair (and smaller ears) but he says he struck out there.

Aging Before Our Eyes

Obama at end-of-year news conference in Dec. 2016
Photo Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It’s been pointed out that many Presidents seem to go gray while in the White House, which could easily be related to the stress of running a nation, but there’s another reason too. Most candidates who are elected President are between the ages of 40 and 60, which is the prime aging time for men to go gray, so that has a significant effect.

Also, since their photos are so frequently taken, the aging process for Presidents seems to be a lot more prominent, simply because there’s so much evidence of it.

Patrick Dempsey

Patrick Dempsey 2005 with Ellen Pompeo at 57th annual emmys
Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega/WireImage via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega/WireImage via Getty Images

Part of the charm of Derek Shepherd, the character Patrick Dempsey played on Grey’s Anatomy for a decade, was his hair, which audiences saw evolve over the 11 seasons he was on the show.

Known as McDreamy, his hair started to turn gray throughout the seasons, but Dempsey always made it work. At 53, Patrick’s signature hair still hasn’t gone completely gray, and he’s settled on salt and pepper for now.

Full Speed Ahead

Patrick Dempsey 2018 at Le Mans 24 Hour Race
Photo Credit: Ker Robertson/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Dempsey’s acting career has taken a bit of a backseat since leaving Grey’s Anatomy and he now seems to focus on his second love, which is auto racing.

He is the owner of his own racing team, Dempsey Racing, and has an extensive sports car collection. Dempsey himself has also driven in a number of races, so don’t let the gray hair fool you. Age isn’t slowing Patrick down at all.

Steve Martin

Steve Martin with Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, Little Shop of Horrors
Photo Credit: The Geffen Company/Getty Images
Photo Credit: The Geffen Company/Getty Images

It turns out Steve Martin wasn’t actually born with the white hairdo we all know and love. You’ll be hard pressed to find proof of his darker hair, but if you do some digging you can find older photos.

He reportedly started to go gray in his late twenties or early thirties, which is only a few years after the start of his Hollywood career, so there’s not a lot of evidence floating around.

Back To Black

Steve Martin Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2015 at Wallis Annenberg Center
Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

It’s actually a little unnerving to look at pictures of Martin with darker hair — it doesn’t look like him at all. There were a number of roles where he would dye his silver back to black, but Steve gave that up years ago to embrace his natural look.

There was a transitional period too where he was blessed with the salt and pepper dark gray, but unfortunately, that’s a little harder to recreate so we haven’t seen that since the 60s.

Hugh Grant

Jeanne Tripplehorn et Hugh Grant au Cannes, France 1998
Photo Credit: Pool BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Pool BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

British rom-com heartthrob Hugh Grant, who is known for his Notting Hill wavy brunette hair style, has started rocking the salt and pepper look along with other silver fox celebrities, and it seems to be working for him.

He first debuted his natural look back in 2013, just weeks after he had been seen at a literary event with dark hair, so it was a bit of a shock for Grant fans.

“Aging Like Mayonnaise”

Hugh Grant screen actors guild in LA, 2019
Photo Credit: Morgan Lieberman/WireImage via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Morgan Lieberman/WireImage via Getty Images

After his Golden Globes appearance in 2018, Grant went on The Tonight Show and talked about a grave mistake he made after the awards show: checking Twitter for comments about himself.

According to Hugh, Twitter said he was “aging like mayonnaise” despite him being quite happy with how he looked for the show. Luckily, Hugh has been in the spotlight long enough to know how to ignore his haters and not take the jokes to heart.