Baldness is usually implemented by television and film writers as a sign of premature aging, poor morality, or just general weakness. But occasionally, baldness instead indicates just how awesome a character is, usually representing leadership or over-the-top manliness. Bald Black Leader Guy is a popular subtrope since, for some reason, black men in leadership positions are almost always bald in fiction. In the spirit of not spinning off into over-troping, this includes men and women who voluntarily shave their heads.
Not to be confused with Bold of Awesome. Contrast Bald of Evil. See also Perma Shave. Depending on the context, Bald Women is the Distaff Counterpart of this trope.
Nizer, one of the Chronos Numbers assassins in Black Cat, is bald. He once defeated a monster that could heal and regenerate even its own head and heart almost instantaneously by reducing the thing to a pile of dust too quickly for it to regenerate itself. With an oversized pair of bladed tonfa.
Dragon Ball — Tenshinhan, Roshi, and Krillin (though he's bald by choice). Also, Abridged Nappa. Arguably, all non-humans/non-mammalians in Dragon Ball Z. This includes Frieza, Piccolo, etc.
Later on in DBZ, Krillin retires from fighting and grows his hair out.
Lordgenome's lack of hair in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gave him enough power to pummel Lagann into the ground - unarmed and outside of his mech.
His lack of hair is mainly because his head catches fire when he gets serious. That's right, he's bald because he's awesome.
When he was young, he had very long hair and heavily resembled his daughter.
Blaine in the Pokémon anime. He just wears a hat to cover it because you are not worthy. Generally the explanation given is that his hair has been singed off. Some sources even say his moustache is a replacement too.
Samejima, the headmaster of Duel Academy from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Sadly, he didn't get too much screen time.
Lex Luthor from Superman is most often made bald. Some stories link his hatred of Superman to him losing his hair, but mostly, it just makes him that much more awesome when he goes into a Slouch of Villainy.
Professor Xavier from X-Men. The animated shows and Live Action movies also give him such a deep, penetrating voice that this wheel-chair bound man commands the respect of everyone. For major bonus, he's played by Patrick Stewart himself in the movies. His baldness set in during puberty in the comics and is possibly linked to his powers. In the films, he went bald sometime during middle age.
Luke Cage: Hero for Hire: Luke Cage and Ultimate Nick Fury definitely qualify. Recently, the Marvel universe has started to really like this trope. The Young Avengers picked their leader based on it. (Not that Patriot's not a good leader, it's just there was no evidence for it before he was chosen, other than his baldness.)
Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan. Bonus points because it was not by choice. A malfunction with a computerized shower stripped him of all his body hair and it never grew back.
Tank Girl: the title character's haircut tend to change often, but one of her most common was a mostly shaven head with a few randomly colored locks.
Suske en Wiske (Spike and Suzy): Lambik, while the character changed over the years, his baldness remained one of the key parts of his appearance and has been used as an element to drive the plot forward in a couple of issues. Lambik played the role of the heroic father figure in a number of albums. In "Het geheim van de gladiatoren" (The secret of the gladiators), "De schat van Beersel" (The treasure of Beersel), and "De tartaarse helm" (The Tartar Helmet), he's depicted as an expert swordsman. These are known as the Blue Cover Series, as opposed to the Red Cover Series.
Inverted in Every Which Way You Can where the Black Widow motorcycle gang appear ridiculous after losing their hair in an asphalt spray. But that might have something to do with the fact that they're wearing silly wigs to compensate — two highway patrolmen break down laughing rather than arrest them, much to their leader's fury.
Takashi Shimura takes this to extremes in Seven Samurai as ronin Kambei Shimada, who is first seen shaving his head as part of a ploy to rescue a child. In his era, it would have been considered dishonorable for someone of the samurai class to shave his head, even to save a peasant. His baldness shows that he places morality above his social standing. Even so, he's clearly a little uncomfortable being bald, and spends the rest of the film absently rubbing his stubbled scalp.
Charlie Bronson, England's most expensive inmate, in Bronson, based on the real life criminal. The film presents him as the antihero in his story, though some would probably consider the real man Bald of Evil.
When one of the Crites in Critters II: The Second Course finds out that a laserblast has removed the fur from top of its head, it's impressed by the result.
The House of Representatives' determined anti-slavery warrior Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones) in Lincoln, although he isn't shown without his wig until near the film's end, when he gets to savor his moment of triumph, the passage of the 13th Amendment, in bed with his black girlfriend.
Syrio Forel of A Song of Ice and Fire. Lord Tywin Lannister's baldness of awesome was actually an indicative character trait. When his hair started thinning, he commanded his barber to completely shave his scalp, as he would not brook half measures.
Matilda's father, who is thoroughly reprehensible and stupid, believes that smart men have a good, thick set of hair. "Like Shakespeare," Matilda once replied. He was willing to admit the potential intellect of the man until Matilda informed him that Shakespeare was bald—at which point he told her to either make sense or shut up.
From TheElenium, Kring qualifies. He is a short, bandy-legged horseman who commands an entire tribe of horsemen who are so dangerous that the Big Bad changed his attack plans rather than risk a fight with them (said Big Bad was reinforced by a Dark God and legions of Hell, yet was scared of these horsemen).
All wits in the Monster Blood Tattoo series. By becoming a wit, you gain telepathic powers, the ability to cause pain with your mind, and other untapped feats of mental strength. In exchange, you lose your hair.
A female example is "Mother" Newman, in Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow books, a Gunnery Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who's sheer level of badassery almost equals the Scarecrow himself. Rather tellingly, her call-sign is not intended to be indicative of any motherly traits (although she is pretty much the Team Mum), but is in fact short for Motherfucker.
Quint, in the original novel of Jaws (but not the movie).
A Mage's Power: Orcs don't grow facial hair, and as a Proud Warrior Race, all of them are this by default.
Kojak: Lt. Theo Kojak himself, the incorruptible Kojak and tough, bald New York City policeman who was fond of lollipops.
Assistant Director Walter Skinner from The X-Files, Mulder and Scully's direct supervisor. Played With because Skinner started as a shady figure and leaned into the Bald of Evil who might be connected to The Conspiracy. However, he proved he's a Reasonable Authority Figure and a badass. Mulder and Scully could depend on him, and he on them.
Also worth noting that, according to several books detailing behind-the-scenes work and the making of the series, actor Mitch Pileggi (who played Skinner) got a great deal of attention from female cast and crew. The Bald of Awesome worked for him. He even married Gillian Anderson's stunt double.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ben Sisko. He grew a beard into the bargain, both of which can be taken as a nod to Avery Brooks's earlier role as Hawk in the Spenser For Hire TV series and its short-lived spinoff, A Man Called Hawk. He shaved his head because, at the time, he did a couple of Spencer For Hire reunion TV movies. He couldn't regrow it in time before taping Deep Space Nine's next season, so he just introduced the look to Sisko. Which caused problems in the beginning, as the producers required Avery Brooks to have some hair for the first season, until the character was established. They specifically did this so he wouldn't look like his earlier character. According to the companion book for Deep Space Nine, when it was decided to go for the bald look, the producers were geared up for a big battle and had their arguments all prepared. They took it to the top brass, which was basically just like "Oh, okay," and that was it.
The Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, Robert Picardo. Even he noticed the coincidence between Stewart's character and his last name, but hey, "if Picard can baldly go where no one has gone before, so can a Picardo."
Sebastian from Pit Boss, despite being a little person, can hit well above his weight class when needed; he wrestled in high school and works out constantly to stay in shape, and has proven himself more than capable of holding his own when things get rough.
Breaking Bad: The show is swarming with bald people for some reason, each with varying degrees of awesome.
Walter White chemistry teacher who turns to cooking meth when he's diagnosed with cancer. When the chemotherapy starts making his hair fall out, he shaves it off. The first words his son says in the face of the new look are "Badass, Dad." He's got an evil goatee to go with it later, too. As the series develops, he subverts the trope by becoming Bald of Evil.
Hank is bald, and has several awesome moments.
Mike the fixer, both bald and awesome, becoming Bald of Evil, considering what he's done and continues to do.
Saul Tigh from Battlestar Galactica (RDM) is an on-again, off-again example. While he regularly visits all segments of the personality spectrum save outright, unmitigated evil, when he does get into bad-assery mode, he does it spectacularly.
Flashpoint - SRU officers Ed Lane and Gregory Parker from the Canadian crime drama. Wordy and Lou also fell under this prior to their departures.
Michael Alfredo Garibaldi, the gruff security chief of Babylon 5, started out as an on/off alcoholic with half a head full of hair, then, in later seasons, shaved it and became bald and badass. But still a latent alcoholic. A returning character hung a lampshade on it by asking; 'So, what happened to your hair?'
What happened was explained in-universe: a close encounter with an exotic compound during a raid on some smugglers. The Real Life explanation was that Jerry Doyle's hair had been thinning throughout filming.
G'Kar counts, too. G'Kar is just awesome all by himself.
Galen, Elric, and many other technomages. Galen, especially, as he is the only one who can create a powerful Sphere of Destruction, which he once used (in an Expanded Universe novel) to level a city and destroy 5 enemy ships, one of which was a Shadow battlecrab.
Jamie Hyneman (and occasionally Adam Savage) of MythBusters
He once lit a match on his head. One might think it was fake, but knowing Jamie...
Sgt James Doakes of Dexter. He's an absolute badass of a sergeant and very intimidating. He has a dark past — he was a ranger in special ops corps, but he's an honest cop.
Tom Colicchio of Top Chef. One gay contestant commented on the show that he is an icon in the gay bear community.
Captain Steubing of The Love Boat, as played by Gavin McLeod. In one episode, he's upset because the ship is going to have a costume ball and he can't think of any bald character he'd like to dress up as. In the triumphal conclusion of that plot, he enters as Yul Brynner in "The King and I".
Japanese comedian and TV personality Hitoshi Matsumoto (best known for Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende) first shaved his head in 1998. He decided that he preferred the buzzcut look and has kept his hair very tightly trimmed ever since.
During one of the endless Real World/Road Rules challenges, contestant Diem Brown recently went through a battle with ovarian cancer and was nearly bald after chemotherapy. She had been wearing wigs nonstop to hide this, until a challenge in mud. She couldn't get the wig wet, so she had to either forfeit or take off her wig on national TV. She did. It was incredibly traumatic for her, but everybody else thought she looked absolutely incredible (one contestant said she looked like a Russian secret agent).
John Locke on LOST was both Bald and, arguably, the most Badass character on the Island. Locke is an interesting case as flashbacks in which he has hair (albeit noticeably receeding) are brutally cruel and his character becomes far more confident as he loses more hair, eventually becoming the hairless determinator we all know and love.
Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden from JAG - unlike the previous desk-jockeys who headed JAG HQ, this old, bald Badass Navy SEAL wasn't afraid to get out into the field and kick ass when needed. And he was a top-notch legal mind who once was considered for a seat on the federal bench.
Charles Gunn from Angel, at least until he grew a little hair in the fifth season. This came as a shock to Cordelia.
"Oh my God, Gunn. You have hair."
"Oh, yeah. What, did you think I was prematurely bald?...I wasn't."
In Season 7 of The Amazing Race, Uchenna & Joyce. Uchenna was bald the entire race, but Joyce had her head shaved as part of a Fast Forward task midway through. The show treated this as an Important Haircut, marking the point when they went from being just another team in the background to being serious contenders for the prize, and they'd go on to win the season.
Dr. Jorge Villanueva aka El Gato aka Big Cat, the chief surgeon played by Ving Rhames. He's a cool doctor, and great to both his colleagues and his patients.
Dr. Harding Hooten (Hardly Human) shaves his head and is bald for a few episodes, at the request of a Littlest Cancer Patient, but he starts letting it grow back out almost immediately. Double Subverted in this case as El Gato first teases him that it's ridiculous and that he cannot pull it off but when Hooten tells him who asked, Gato just silently raises his cup (of tea or coffee), impressed.
Howie Mandel seems to be wearing it well in his hosting and judging gigs.
Ray Vecchio in Due South is Balding of Awesome, especially in Season 2 and the series finale.
A fair number of examples in 24, though Aaron Pierce stands well above everyone else. Mike Novick is a close second.
There's also Chloe's ex-husband, Miles O'Brian.
Henry Taylor in Season 7 dipped into this at points.
Sharkey of Sharkey's Shootout, a stout, bald man who runs an exclusive pool hall for his annual pool tournament. The Shootout is so exclusive that only six people are allowed entry, including world-famous player Jeanne "The Black Widow" Lee and a space alien.
Just a General Note: Due to the nature of professional wrestling, most wrestlers will switch between Face and Heel during their careers. Because of this, there is some significant overlap between this and Bald of Evil, and likely most of these qualify for both.
Kurt Angle decided to deliberately invoke this. After losing a hair vs hair match to Edge, he spent a few months wearing a ridiculous looking hairpiece held on by olympic style wrestling headgear. Then one show he whipped it off and just stood there smiling patiently until the fans quit laughing. He's been bald ever since.
Actually an inversion with Molly. After her WrestleMania 20 head shaving, she wound up WWE's resident Diva Butt Monkey. Between having to wear a ridiculous wig with a chin strap attached and getting pinned in almost all of her matches (including the hot-but-talentless Stacy Keibler and green rookie Christy Hemme), she was anything but awesome.
In Japan, Keiji Mutoh (aka The Great Muta), since 2001.
The Munchkin Player's Guide gives you a + 1 bonus to strength if you're bald, since your body isn't wasting energy on hair. To be fair, it gives bonuses on every other hair choice as well, with about the same level of justification. (Long hair gives a bonus to strength too, since "it worked for Samson.")
A great deal of Space Marines from any chapter that isn't Space Wolves (who are practically hairballs by comparison) are bald or have rather little hair by comparison. It isn't a rule that every codex space marine should be bald, but it's prevalent enough that fans refer to it as "Astartes-pattern baldness".
The Heavy from Team Fortress 2 has male pattern baldness. But also for some reason, a stubble setting on his razor. The Engineer can also sport this if you unlock the right hats. Or lack of hat-hat. The Spy is probably also bald (or shaves his head), given the snug fit of his balaclava.
Of course, the baldness is only awesome if they're on your team.
Sonic the Hedgehog - though Dr. Eggman's baldness also qualifies as Bald of Evil, he has proven himself heroic and awesome at times. In the Archie comic based on the games, he even expresses his fondness for and personal choice in the look by proclaiming that "bald is beautiful!"
The Spirit Engine 1 and 2 both have some examples.
Clementas: ass-kicking cleric. Shoots a villain in the middle of a Breaking Lecture about how evil will ultimately triumph because good is held back by its morals and they have to accept his surrender although they know he will manage to escape...with the words "You must be thinking of a different church."
Safiya in Neverwinter Nights II: Mask of the Betrayer is a Rare Female Example. Going with Thayan wizard traditions, she shaves her head and tattoos it with arcane markings, supposedly enhancing her power. She is also a rare nonevil Thayan wizard, who has a more scholarly or scientific outlook instead of a tyrannical one. She's still not to be underestimated, though; her Disintegrate spell is deadly and rarely fails.
One of the new characters of Diablo III is the Monk. The male is bald with two circle tattoos on his forehead. Case in point: the trailer shows him walking into a town overrun by cultists with the door closing behind him, only for him to be seen fresh as daisies a few seconds later. You figure how well that worked out.
As far as NPCs are concerned, we also have fallen angel Tyrael.
Averted haaaaard in Guild Wars: Factions, in which Mhenlo (and Master Togo, to an extent) seems to be trying his utmost to invent the Bald of Suck (as any player who's herded him through the entirety of the campaign can tell you). Played straight in the rest of the series with Mhenlo (who's actually a fairly decent henchman when he's not forced into obnoxious-allydom) and PC Monks, Dervishes, and male Necromancers.
Pokémon Red and Blue: Blaine is a good example. He even takes off his hat in his HGSS battle animation, and a glint of light shines off of his head.
More than one character in the Street Fighter games, with the top examples being Sagat and Gouken.
Dynasty Warriors has featured Dian Wei in every incarnation as Cao Cao's loyal bodyguard, and so far has shown him as both enormously powerful and bald as a coot. He is even called "The Coming Evil" and is shown headbutting a boulder to pieces in the fourth game's demo opening. In spite of the nickname and the presence of both baldness and spiked armor, he is not shown to be particularly evil. He even makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Cao Cao in an ambush.
Ogden from Dragon Fantasy lost all of his hair as a teenager in a fight against a dragon, and remains bald 30 years later when the game begins.
Need a guy with a shaven head to blow up a starship with an epaulet? Call Kevyn Andreyasn from Schlock Mercenary.
Severus and Krin from Servants of the Imperium. Severus is an Imperial Inquisitor and Krin is a bountyhunter, and both are awesome. There's also Lyle the Psyker, but the shape of his skull puts him more into My Brain Is Big.
Qin Xu from Last Res0rt keeps most of his head bald — although the long, winding Queue makes up for it. We get to see a nice flashback of his early days as a vampire with a short, spiky haircut, though.
Paul, second-in-command time ninja in Errant Story, may be one of the bad guys, but he's definitely awesome, and he tries (unsuccessfully) to stop Big Bad Anita from pursuing her plan for world domination, so he fits better here than in Bald of Evil.
Egyptian superhero The Shield from Global Guardians PBEM Universe is bald because his impenetrable force field continually cuts off all his body hair (except for his eyebrows and lashes) at the skin level.
In "The Original Airbenders" Tenzin explains that one of the reasons Airbenders shave their heads is that due to more exposed skin, they're able to sense attacks through the air. This is demonstrated when a recently-shaved acolyte is able to sense a net being thrown at him from behind and evade it.
So does Jinora at the end of Book 3, along with the airbending tattoos that indicate master airbenders.
Another monk example would be Omi from Xiaolin Showdown. Also, Master Fung. In many ways, he's the awesomest person in the show.
Teen Titans - Cyborg. He lost and had half of his scalp replaced with metal plating in a tragic back story that was never told, and likely shaves the remains because half a head of hair would look rather silly. He grows his hair in the comics, and half an afro looks just as silly as you'd think.