The Who2 Blog

LBJ’s Long Hair

The Atlantic’s Kevin Townsend has a lovely little article about how retired President Lyndon Johnson grew his hair out in Texas in the last year of his life.

LBJ has curly gray hair brushed back from his forehead and down over his collar

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.

Great story. Learn more about LBJ at our biography »

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