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This story first appeared in the June 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Reality uber-producer Mark Burnett had the Twittersphere buzzing May 31 when he appeared at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards without his Duck Dynasty-style beard. Turns out the brains behind The Voice, The Apprentice and Survivor had shaved off what his wife, Roma Downey, affectionately had dubbed “a human Chia Pet” on a flight back from the Rome set of Ben Hur in April.
As Burnett tells it, he was in the bathroom with 9½ hours left on the Lufthansa flight and a drawer labeled “razors” caught his eye. “In a mad moment, I just started shaving it off,” he laughed. An hour and a half — and 12 disposable razors — later, he emerged fully shorn. So what prompted the change? A recent appearance on The Tonight Show where Downey and Jimmy Fallon donned faux beards in his honor: “That’s when I thought, ‘The beard has officially become a joke.’ ”
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