It starts with this X (formerly a tweet) from historian Michael Beschloss. Townsend digs deeper into “the joy that is 1972 Lyndon B. Johnson hair” and finds what seems to be the source of those silver tresses:
Former aide Bob Hardesty takes credit for this development. “We were working together one day,” Hardesty recalls, “and he said, in passing, ‘Robert, you need a haircut.’ I told him, ‘Mr. President, I’m letting my hair grow so no one will be able to mistake me for those SOB’s in the White House.’ He looked startled, so I explained, ‘You know, that bunch around Nixon—Haldeman, Ehrlichman—they all have very short hair.’ He nodded. The next time I saw him his hair was growing over his collar.”
Even former presidents need to let their freak flag fly now and then. Johnson got it in just under the wire: he died of a heart attack on January 22, 1973, two days after the dastardly Richard Nixon was inaugurated for his second term.
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