This handsome stud with the face rug is Ambrose Burnside, the Civil War general for whom the “sideburn” is named, and without whom this rundown of diminished historical accomplishments relative to sideburn size would cease to exist.
From indigenous men of Mexico to Alexander the Great, Ambrose hardly has claim to starting the style, but his namesake has given us the terminology necessary to compile a list that includes both Marty VB and Fat Bastard. Someone had to do it.
Kaiser Wilhelm I.
As much as this man was a supporter of a unified Germany, he was also a proponent of large sideburns. Allegedy, in 1878, his left 'burn had to be removed when he was shot in the face. The man who tended his wounds kept the shaved whiskers and eventually donated them to the Hohenzollern Museum after Wilhelm’s death. Talk about a legacy.
Fact: Sideburns fell out of fashion during WWI because men had to be clean-shaven in order to seal a gas mask. Also fact: Elvis’s popularity brought burns back.
“If someone thinks that peace and love and sideburns are just a cliche that must have been left behind in the 60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love and sideburns are eternal.” - John Lennon, probably.
The 70s were a pretty big decade for sports stars with sideburns, but this MLB first baseman’s hit all the home runs. Zing!
Though I’ve never actually seen MASH, I’ve heard it’s excellent, mostly from my mom. But I don’t have to see #17 on Bravo's list of "100 Funniest Movies" to know that Elliot Gould’s schnauzer puppy sideburns are terrific.
He eats because he’s unhappy, and he’s unhappy because he eats, but Mike Myer’s foul Scottish Henchman should find a modicum of self-respect in his unfettered muttonchops.
Things get tricky here because I’m not quite sure where to draw the line between beard and burn. But ultimately, whatever rabid-animal-chic thing is happening on Hugh Jackman's face deserves a place on this list.
Carrie Dennis is a writer for Thrillist Media Group and doesn't think sideburns is a good look on her. Follow her on Twitter @CarrrieDennnis.