The Ultimate 50
24. Louise Mandrell
Louise has made a slight career change as we post this update. She's starring in a Fresno, California dinner theater production based on "Calamity Jane." It's hard to imagine much hair calamity from a style this shapely -- with added waves all-around, not to mention a cowboy hat to keep things secure (she doesn't wear it throughout the show).
But a March trip to a North Carolina farm finally confirmed what we had feared for a couple of years. This photo from Mandrell's website shows a windblown head of hair -- but we don't think the wind is the decisive factor here. Her bangs are simply too long for the occasion, and they fall across both eyes. It's quite a rare slip for Louise. But her decades of stylish beauty, strength and skill show an undeniably tremendous record of Super-Hair.
The best place to find current pictures of Louise remains her website. We found several photos from a spring 2010 performance at Silver Dollar City -- where two hands on a fiddle required her hair to stay strongly in place. Light bangs spread across the forehead make sure of that. And notice the headband, possibly to guard against windy conditions.
But Louise also includes casual shots with friends and relatives. This one from a Florida beach trip is stunningly messy -- with a few bangs long enough to fall in her eyes, and resting a literal eyelash away! Do you think defeat happened, when the camera wasn't on?
Then there's this moment, from the final minute of a ten-minute compilation clip of Louise's live performances in east Tennessee. Long bangs are on the bridge of her nose! Yet we couldn't find the fraction of a second when the hair covers her right eye. We rule Louise still undefeated - but if you find a clip where the end of her long run comes, please let us know. We can take it. Really.
As we write this, Mandrell's web site promises something new is "coming soon." We'll assume the only picture displayed is new. It's similar to what she displays here, in a clip promoting a motivational speaker -- medium-long with hints of waviness from the shoulders down. Bangs are almost completely split here, but can be placed wherever she wishes.
If you need proof that this is a true head of Super-Hair, do a YouTube search for Mandrell's name. Several fast-moving routines from her Tennessee stage show are there, with hair flying in almost every direction. This vid-cap (seemingly from the 1990s) shows a quick right turn in mid-song -- and her brilliant cut stops just short of her left eye. Into the face is the direction it does not go.
You'll even find this more dramatic moment, from a White Rain shampoo commercial. Do the tips of her hair bounce into that left eye? With her head turned, we don't think so - but it's a Super-Hair brand of escape from an extremely close call. We still rate Mandrell undefeated, and incredibly impressive.
Mandrell's fans may be a bit in mourning these days. She quit the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee stage show and sold the theater at the end of 2005, because her husband in the Nashville area has a rare disease. This picture from a Knoxville TV station shortly before the closing in late 2005 shows a rather sleek look for her -- but still showing the same basic great style.
Mandrell's web site remains open, even though the theater has closed. You can even see a video clip of her unbeatable hair in action. We hope she's not out of the public spotlight completely, because her style is too good to keep hidden.
The more time goes on, the more we think Louise was placed too low on this list. She performs two-hour shows in Pigeon Forge several nights a week, dozens of weeks a year -- yet her great style never seems to wear out. This photo seems to show it worn down and a bit weak, but that's something different. The hair is not at risk of falling at all.
Louise even hosts a five-kilometer run every July in east Tennessee, and her hair seems capable of lasting through that. You can admire her styles through the years, from "big hair" to streamlined chic, at a fan site called Louise's Parlor.
We don't say this about many heads of hair, but Louise's seems to get better with age. Her current style is great for her Tennessee stage show - able to swing, sway and bounce for hours. The hair remains undefeatable because of the well-cut bangs. And we've seen photos with some long hair is tucked behind the ears for safety -- perhaps for windy amphitheatre shows.
While Mandrell's own web site is the best choice to find current pictures of her hair at public appearances, we recommend a Mandrell fan's site for the most complete set of photos from this performer's career.
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