15 Best TV Mustaches of All Time, Ranked

Tom Selleck, Ted Lange, and Nick Offerman
Getty Images; Everett Collection

When the calendar switched from October 31 to November 1, the mood went from scary to hairy. That’s because November is now known as Movember, the time of year when people grow out their mustaches to raise awareness for mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer, as the Movember Foundation explains.

If you’re thinking about keeping your upper lip unshaven but need a little facial-hair inspo, you need only turn on your television or take a look at our list. The TV characters below have among the best mustaches ever on the small screen, in our opinion. Scroll on to see a stash of ‘staches.

Deadwood - Ian McShane as Al Swearengen
HBO/Courtesy: Everett Collection

15. Al Swearengen, Deadwood

When the cast and crew of Deadwood returned for a TV movie continuation of the HBO series, actor Ian McShane had limited time to cultivate saloon owner Al Swearengen’s ‘stache. “I had a month to grow the sideboards and the mustache,” he told Den of Geek in 2019. “And I managed to grow it! It was good, nice to be back again.”

Bob's Burgers Bob Belcher
Fox/Courtesy: Everett Collection

14. Bob Belcher, Bob’s Burgers

Not only does the titular restaurant owner of Bob’s Burgers have a prominent mustache, but he also has a tattoo of his prominent mustache on his lower back. (An unfortunate run-in with a brony-type figure named Bronconius resulted in that particular tramp stamp.)

The Love Boat - Ted Lange as Isaac Washington
Aaron Spelling Productions/Courtesy: Everett Collection

13. Isaac Washington, The Love Boat

Fans of The Love Boat wouldn’t have seen Ted Lange with Issac Washington’s upper lipholstery if a network exec had their way. “They said that it wouldn’t reflect reality,” Lange told Zip06.com in 2019. “I said, ‘Not real? The fact that I’m on television playing a bartender involves a bit of fantasy.’”

My Name Is Earl - Jason Lee as Earl Hickey
Hopper Stone/NBC/Courtesy: Everett Collection

12. Earl Hickey, My Name Is Earl

Jason Lee, who played My Name Is Earl’s atoning no-goodnik, had second thoughts about his character’s facial hair. “I gotta tell you, sometimes I regret the idea of having one for the show,” he told Digital Spy in 2008. “It’s a pretty damn good mustache, but it’s a commitment, you know?”

The White Lotus - Murray Bartlett as Armond
Mario Perez/HBO/Courtesy: Everett Collection

11. Armond, The White Lotus

Murray Bartlett, who played the frenetic hotel manager in The White Lotus’ first season, sported the same mustache on his earlier HBO show, Looking. “I grew it while I was in Egypt because I looked so much like a tourist and I wanted to try and fit in and a lot of people had mustaches there,” he explained to Vulture in 2014. “I auditioned for Looking with it, and they wound up asking me to keep it.”

Jonathan Van Ness
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

10. Jonathan Van Ness

Jonathan Van Ness, Queer Eye’s resident beauty maven, rocked a handlebar mustache a few years ago. “The mustache is new — she’s just my summer moment,” they told Into the Gloss in 2018. “There’s something about having a ‘stache with my heels obsession that just feels right — it makes my soul feel happy, so I’m going for it.”

Looney Tunes Yosemite Sam
Everett Collection

9. Yosemite Sam, Looney Tunes

Man alive, this gunslinger’s bushy red mustache goes down to his waist! In an interview with the Associated Press, animator Friz Freleng said he modeled Sam after himself. “I have the same temperament,” Frelang revealed. “I’m small, and I used to have a red mustache.”

Phil McGraw
Charley Gallay/Getty Images

8. Phil McGraw

Dr. Phil’s Phil McGraw had fans panicked when he posted a photo of his mustache-less face in 2019. Only later did the talk show host reveal it was an April Fools’ joke — or an “April Phils” joke, as he put it. “You didn’t really think I would do it, right?” he added. “I’d look like an aardvark if I took this off.”

The Wild Thornberrys Nigel Thornberry
Paramount/Courtesy: Everett Collection

7. Nigel Thornberry, The Wild Thornberrys

That completely horizontal lip foliage on Nigel Thornberry’s face is smashing, to quote the wildlife documentarian himself. And it sounds like one fan wouldn’t mind “smashing” with Nigel. “From his incredible accent to this thick mustache, [Nigel] has just stirred something up in me that I can’t control,” that fan wrote on Twitter.

Gene Shalit
NBC/Courtesy: Everett Collection

6. Gene Shalit

Gene Shalit’s monster of a mustache even gets a special shout-out on the website for TODAY, the NBC show on which the film critic appeared for 40 years. “With his congestion of hair and flowing mustache, Shalit is one of America’s most recognizable personalities,” his TODAY.com profile aptly states.

Shaft - Richard Roundtree as John Shaft
Courtesy: Everett Collection

5. John Shaft, Shaft

Because Richard Roundtree brought his film character John Shaft to the small screen for a series of CBS movies between 1973 and 1974, we can include the private detective’s magnificent mustache on this list. And on the Criterion Collection release of the 1971 movie that started it all, Roundtree revealed that director Gordon Parks threatened to fire the actor if he shaved off his ‘stache, per Showbiz CheatSheet.

Alex Trebek
ABC/Courtesy: Everett Collection

4. Alex Trebek

In his memoir, late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek said that he grew his mustache in the early 1970s. “I was the first game show host since Groucho Marx to be on the air with a mustache,” he said, per Showbiz CheatSheet. (He also revealed that when he decided to go clean-shaven one day, his then-10-year-old son Michael burst into tears.)

The Simpsons Ned Flanders
Fox/Courtesy: Everett Collection

3. Ned Flanders, The Simpsons

This Springfield denizen and his family have many names for his ’stache on The Simpsons — including “nose neighbor,” “soup strainer,” and “cookie duster.” Oh, and don’t forget “Dr. Fuzzenstein”!

Magnum, P.I. Thomas Magnum - Tom Selleck
Jim Britt/TV Guide/CBS/Courtesy: Everett Collection

2. Thomas Magnum, Magnum P.I.

The hirsute Tom Selleck had facial hair and chest hair on full display on the detective series Magnum, P.I., and now there are whole web articles that tell fans how to get to look. In fact, Selleck’s facial hair is so iconic that CBS didn’t want him shaving it off for his role on Blue Bloods, as the actor told AOL BUILD in 2017.

Parks and Recreation - Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC/Courtesy: Everett Collection

1. Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

Nick Offerman and his bristly, bushy Parks and Rec mustache have become inseparable for fans of his character, the grumpy civil servant Ron Swanson. “I’ve had to learn to take it as a compliment when people say ‘I saw Nick Offerman without his mustache, and I vomited because it was so horrible,’” the other told Entertainment Weekly in 2015. “That means Parks and Rec was so effective that people can’t imagine me without my mustache.”