Thaddeus Stevens is one of those names of which I know a fair bit, but whose image is always a surprise to me. I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup, but his onscreen portrayer, Tommy Lee Jones’ wig anecdote might help in future.
“All I knew of Thaddeus Stevens was what an attentive student of American history would have learned in high school or college,” he said. “He was a radical Republican abolitionist with a very severe outlook on Reconstruction,” arguing that the postwar South should be punished like conquered provinces where constitutional restraints would not apply.
What Jones didn’t know was that Stevens had a club foot, lost all his hair and wore a wig cut the same way all around so he wouldn’t have to waste time locating the front. Jones called wearing his impressive toupee just “one of the vicissitudes of acting.”