This is a list of notable bow tie wearers, real and fictional; notable people for whom the wearing of a bow tie (when not in formal dress) is also a notable characteristic.
A list of bow tie devotees reads like a Who's Who of rugged individualists.
Bow tie wearing can be a notable characteristic for an individual. Men's clothier Jack Freedman told The New York Times that wearing a bow tie "is a statement maker" that identifies a person as an individual because "it's not generally in fashion". Numerous writers and bow tie sellers have observed that the popularity of this type of neckwear can rise and fall with the fortunes of the well-known people who wear them.
In 1996, The Wall Street Journal quoted statistics from the Neckwear Association of America showing that bow ties represent 3 percent of the 100Â million ties sold each year in the United States, most of them part of formal wear, such as a tuxedo.
Attention to famous bow tie wearers in commerce and fashion commentary
TOP HAT, WHITE TIE AND TAILS - from Top Hat (1935) choreography by Fred Astaire and Hermes Pan music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
Those who write about bow ties often mention famous people who wear or have worn them. These writers often make the point that the image conveyed to others by a bow tie can be affected by associations with celebrities and famous people in the past.
A common fashion accessory in the nineteenth century, the bow tie had positive associations by mid-twentieth century, bolstered by real-world personalities like President Franklin Roosevelt and the "political genius" Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill as well as "devil-may-care" characters portrayed in movies by actors like Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra. By the 1970s, however, the bow tie became associated with nerds and geeks, such as the slapstick characters played by Jerry Lewis, and Mayberry's fictional deputy sheriff, Barney Fife. This perception was reinforced by the bow tie's association with Pee-wee Herman and U.S. Senator Paul Simon.
The perceptions associated with bow ties started to take another turn in the 1980s, when Success Magazine's founder, W. Clement Stone, spoke out in support of the neck wear after the publication by fashion author John Molloy which observed, "Wear a bow tie and nobody will take you seriously." Stone associated bow-tie wearing with virility, aggressiveness, and salesmanship. In further defense of the bow tie, its use by figures such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Saul Bellow has been cited.
Celebrities' effect on bow tie wearing
When a celebrity is noticed wearing a bow tie, it can affect bow tie sales; sales see an improvement when the accessory is associated with younger celebrities such as Tucker Carlson. When Raj Bhakta wore one during his stint on The Apprentice, haberdashers reported customers asking for a bow tie which looked like his. Similarly, after Matt Smith made his debut as the bow tie-wearing Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who, Topman reported a significant increase in demand for bow ties (from 3% of all tie sales to 14%).
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote about his decision as a college student to start wearing bow ties in his memoir A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917â"1950. Schlesinger remarked that he made his decision in part because a number of famous men he admired had a penchant for the neck wear. In addition, he noted that they prevent dinner mishaps, saying, "It is impossible, or at least it requires extreme agility, to spill anything on a bow tie."
Commercial interests using famous wearers to encourage sales
Bow tie sellers often cite famous people who have worn the neckwear as a way of encouraging more customers. Jack Cutone, co-founder of Boston Bow Tie, noted that there is ample evidence to support the uniqueness and stature of those who wear bow ties, including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Beau Ties Ltd., an online bow tie seller, has featured a "C. Everett Koop bow tie," complete with an endorsement by Koop, who was Surgeon General of the United States during the Reagan administration. Carrot & Gibbs, another bow tie seller, lists several famous wearers on its bow tie web page.
Bow tie wearers of the nineteenth century
Bow ties were conventional attire in the nineteenth century. HonorÃ© de Balzac has been quoted as saying that manner in which a man tied his bow tie distinguished "a man of genius from a mediocre one". Portraits of U.S. presidents from Van Buren through McKinley commonly show them in bow ties. Wearing of a bow tie was seldom commented upon and did not form part of the public perception of figures such as American inventor Thomas Edison or Communist theorist Karl Marx.
Bow tie wearers in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
- Le Corbusier (1887â"1965), architect who wore "his trademark bow tie"
- Peter Eisenman (born 1932), architect and academic
- Louis Kahn (1901 or 1902â"1974), architect and academic
- Walter Gropius (1883â"1969), architect, six of whose bow ties are kept by Harvard
- Owen Luder (1928), Architect
College and university professors
- Leon Botstein (born 1946), president of Bard College
- George S. Bridges, Whitman College president
- George Campbell Jr. (born 1945), president of Cooper Union
- Donald J. Cram, chemist, Nobel Prize laureate.
- William Durden, president of Dickinson College
- E. Gordon Gee (born 1944), president of West Virginia University and former president of Vanderbilt University, Brown University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Ohio State University: "When E. Gordon Gee was fifteen years old, he made a defining sartorial decision. He began wearing a bow tie."
- Alexander Fleming (1881â"1955), Scottish biologist, pharmacologist, Nobel Prize laureate
- Jerry Herron, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University
- Richard Hofstadter, American historian
- Eric R. Kandel (born 1929), neurobiology professor and Nobel Prize winner with a "trademark bow tie"
- Fred Lazarus IV, president of the Maryland Institute College of Art
- Thomas Leuze, Professor of Christian Education and Religious Studies at Oakland City University.
- Fritz Albert Lipmann, German-American biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate.
- William Lipscomb, physicist, Nobel Prize Laureate.
- R. Bowen Loftin (born 1949), chancellor of the University of Missouri. Quoted as saying "The similarity between Bowen and Bowtie tends to help people remember my name."
- Bohumil Makovsky, Director of Bands at Oklahoma A&M College
- Michael C. Maxey, 11th president of Roanoke College
- Santa J. Ono (born 1962), president of University of Cincinnati. Immunologist and vision researcher.
- Paul C. Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College, a private liberal arts institution in Minneapolis. Pribbenow holds a BA (1978) from Luther College (Iowa), and an MA (1979) and PhD (1993) in social ethics from the University of Chicago.
- Paul Samuelson (1915â"2009), professor emeritus of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Nobel Prize winner.
- Erwin SchrÃ¶dinger, the father of quantum physics.
- Andrew Sorensen, former president of the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina, capitalized on his reputation for a "trademark bow tie" by calling his travels around South Carolina "Bow Tie Bus Tours".
- Eugene H. Spafford, cybersecurity pioneer, professor at Purdue University, and founder of the CERIAS research institute.
- Gary Weedman, 6th president of Johnson University
- William E. Troutt, 19th president of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Daniel J. Boorstin (1914â"2004), U.S. historian, professor, attorney, and writer who was the U.S. Librarian of Congress from 1975 until 1987.
- Bill Nye (born 1955), television science program host, is a "gangly guy in the blue lab coat and bow tie". On why he wears bow ties: "If you're working with liquid nitrogen and your tie falls into it, it's funny in a way to the audience but it's also â" pun intended â" a little bit of a pain in the neck."
- Alexander Oparin (1894â"1980), a Soviet biochemist notable for his contributions to the theory of the origin of life.
- Murray Rothbard (1926â"1995), libertarian economist and historian who "always wore a conservative suit and bow tie."
- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1917â"2007), "famed for his trademark bow ties"
- Chris Whittle (born 1947), founder of Channel One News and Edison Schools
Entertainers and media personalities
- Fred Allen, American radio and TV comedian
- Charlie Chaplin, renowned comic actor of the silent film era
- Fyvush Finkel, comedic actor best known for roles on TV series produced by David E. Kelley, is sometimes nicknamed "Bowtie Finkel"
- Pee-wee Herman, played by Paul Reubens
- Marc Evan Jackson, American comedian and actor, who "has played Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars wearing a bow tie invariably during every performance" as well as wearing them when he is out of character
- Stan Laurel, comedian, typically wore a bow tie when in character
- Jerry Lewis ("in nutty character")
- Groucho Marx American comedian
- Garry Moore, comedian who hosted game and variety shows, was known for his crew cut and bow ties.
- Frank Muir, British comedy writer and broadcast personality "famous for his pink bow tie and mispronunciation", according to the BBC
- Mo Rocca, identified by the New York Times as one of several comedians who have worn bow ties "ironically"
- Mark Russell, American political comedian, pianist, and parody song author. "Mr. Russell knows from bow ties. They have been his signature for years, along with a star-spangled piano that he plinks every few minutes ..."
- Paul F. Tompkins, American comedian known for his dapper appearance on stage including a penchant for bow ties
Journalists and commentators
- Tucker Carlson, conservative American commentator. In 2005 he told the New York Times he had consistently worn bow ties since childhood, but he acknowledged that bow ties often provoke negative reactions, "like a middle finger protruding from your neck." Following his tenure on CNN's Crossfire (Jon Stewart famously knocked the bowtie during his infamous 2004 appearance on the show), he has switched primarily to long neckties or no ties at all.
- John Daly, journalist and host of What's My Line?, was often photographed in a bow tie; evening dress (which included bow ties) was worn by the host and panelists on that game show.
- Sir Robin Day (1923â"2000), British television commentator and interviewer; his BBC News obituary said "With his thick horn-rimmed spectacles and trade mark polka-dot bow tie, he was the great inquisitor"
- Troy Dungan, retired chief weather anchor for WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas-Fort Worth. Owns approximately 220 bow ties.
- Dave Garroway (1913â"1982), U.S. broadcaster, first host of the Today show
- Roger Kimball (born 1953), U.S. art critic and social commentator, co-editor and co-publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books
- Janusz Korwin-Mikke (born 1942), Polish liberal conservative publisher and politician
- Irving R. Levine (1922â"2009), the first foreign correspondent accredited in the Soviet Union., the former economics reporter for NBC television, known for his "trademark bow tie", appeared for the first time in public wearing a necktie for the Brown University commencement in 1994. "I needed help in tying it," he later said.
- Russell Lynes (1910â"1991), American art historian, photographer, author and editor of Harper's Magazine
- Tom Oliphant, writer for the Boston Globe
- Charles Osgood (born 1933), American broadcast journalist, described as having a "trademark bow tie"
- Gene Shalit (born 1926), U.S. movie critic and regular commentator on the Today show
- Harry Smith (born 1951), TV journalist, wore a "trademark" bow tie during his early career at a Denver station, but stopped wearing them when he joined CBS in 1987, when a network official told him that Charles Osgood was CBS' bow-tie-wearing personality and "We can't have two guys wearing bow ties."
- Jeffrey Tucker, editorial vice president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute
- Timothy White (1952â"2002), rock journalist and "debonair dandy who "always wore his bow tie in public" and prided himself in his jaunty bow tie and white buckskin shoes.".
- George Will (born 1941), American conservative syndicated columnist and regular on the This Week Sunday morning program on ABC television. He sometimes appears with a bow tie, sometimes with a long tie, as can be seen on the covers of his books. In 2005, he told the New York Times that whenever he wore a regular necktie, people commented on the absence of his bow tie.
Other entertainment personalities
- Fred Astaire
- Raj Bhakta, 2005 contestant on The Apprentice television program, later ran for Congress and lost
- Bud Collyer, American television game show host in the 1950s and early 1960s, typically wore a bow tie
- Keith Floyd, bon viveur, restauranteur and TV chef.
- John Houseman (1902-1988), actor
- Vladimir Horowitz (1903â"1989), pianist, wore a "trademark bow tie."
- Christopher Kimball, cooking writer and TV host
- Alton Brown, Host of the American television show "Good Eats"
- Matthew Lesko, American author and late-night television personality whose customary garish outfits include bowties
- Magician James Randi has frequently worn a bow tie in his public appearances.
- Stromae (Paul Van Hader), Belgian singer-songwriter.
- Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco is often seen wearing a bow tie to correspond with the historic element in their music.
- Manolo Blahnik, shoe designer, sports a "signature bow tie"
- Alber Elbaz (born 1961), Israeli fashion designer "is always photographed wearing a floppy bow tie."
- Karl Lagerfeld, influential fashion designer
- Archibald Cox (1912â"2004), the Watergate special prosecutor, constantly wore "his trademark bow tie, neatly knotted as always"
- Edward H. Levi (1911â"2000), United States Attorney General, described by The New York Times as looking unready for political combat in "his signature bow tie and thick glasses".
- Louis Lowenstein (1925â"2009), professor at Columbia University School of Law
- Henry Rothblatt (1916â"1985), author, professor at New York Law School, and defense lawyer whose clients included four of the Watergate burglars, happy hooker Xaviera Hollander, and some soldiers charged in the killing of a reported Vietnamese double-agent. He was described by the Los Angeles Times as "the brash, bow-tied Bronx lawyer."
- John Paul Stevens (born 1920), U.S. Supreme Court Justice who "rarely, if ever, wears any other neckwear on the bench"
- Joseph N. Welch (1890â"1960), head attorney for the U.S. Army in the Armyâ"McCarthy hearings of the 1950s
- Martin C. McWilliams, JR., "Before joining the USC Law faculty in 1983, Professor McWilliams clerked for the Honorable R.A. Ainsworth, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced for six years with Davis Polk & Wardwell in their New York and London offices. His principal teaching interests are Contracts, the advanced corporate law courses, and English Legal History." He wears a bow-tie to class nearly every day. http://law.sc.edu/faculty/mcwilliams/mcwilliams.jpg
The regular wearing of bow ties by a politician is often the subject of comment â" from friends, foes and journalists:
- Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.
- Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (born 1932), former U.S. Representative from Virginia.
- Earl Blumenauer (born 1948), U.S. Representative from Oregon, wears "his trademark bow tie"
- Winston Churchill, British statesman, prime minister, Nobel Literature Prize laureate
- Tom Connally, U.S. Senator from Texas.
- Mo Cowan, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
- Elio Di Rupo, former Belgian prime minister, once described by a reporter as "the bow tie wearing Socialist"
- Christian Herter, Governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Secretary of State.
- Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of Estonia, is "well-known for always sporting his trademark bow tie"; has even been "dubbed an 'American in a bow tie' by his opponents".
- Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator from New York, whom Hillary Clinton remembered in a speech as having had "three signature items: his horn rimmed glasses, a bow tie, and a great idea"
- Donald M. Payne, Jr., U.S. Representative from New Jersey.
- Lester B. Pearson, Canadian prime minister, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, "with his trademark blue polka dot blue" bow tie
- Otis G. Pike, U.S. Representative from New York.
- Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States.
- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.
- Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech politician, foreign minister.
- George P. Shultz (born 1920), U.S. Secretary of Labor, the Treasury, and State, consistently wore bow ties in the early 1970s
- Paul Simon, U.S. senator from Illinois
- Donald Tsang, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong â" "The bow tie is such an integral part of Tsang's identity that he is nicknamed "bow tie Tsang," according to an Associated Press story
- Julio CÃ©sar Turbay Ayala, president of Colombia from 1978 to 1982.
- Daniel Turp, Canadian Parti QuÃ©bÃ©cois politician, formerly known ffor wearing bow ties.
- GetÃºlio Vargas, Brazilian statesman
- Anthony A. Williams, former mayor of Washington, D.C. and nicknamed "Mr. Bow Tie"
- G. Mennen Williams, former Governor of the State of Michigan.
- Woodrow Wyatt, a British Labour politician, published author, journalist and broadcaster
- Peter Dunne, New Zealand politician.
- Grant Goldberg, Minister of Parliament for Toronto Riding #69
Psychiatrists and psychologists
- Aaron T. Beck, the psychiatrist known as "the father of cognitive therapy" dresses in "his signature bow tie"
- Alfred Kinsey, the influential sex researcher, wore a "trademark bow tie"
- Theodore Millon (1928-2014), psychologist and expert on personality disorders.
- Richard Sherman, Defensive Back of the 2014 Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks is frequently seen wearing a bow tie, and has a YouTube video on how to tie a bow tie.
- Bruce Bowen, longtime National Basketball Association player for the San Antonio Spurs.
- Frank Cashen, longtime Major League Baseball executive with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets.
- Mike Hawthorn, racing driver, co-winner of the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 1958 Formula One World Driver's Champion.
- Dhani Jones, professional football player, has long worn bow ties and has created a line of bow ties for sale
- Tim Lincecum, pitcher for baseball's San Francisco Giants
- Jim Phelan, basketball coach for Mount St. Mary's University. Numerous fans and fellow coaches honored his retirement by wearing bow ties.
- Ken Rosenthal, Lead field reporter for Major League Baseball on Fox is known for wearing a wide variety of bowties.
- Bill Torrey (born 1934), General manager who built the New York Islanders into a dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups, known as "Bow-Tie" Bill, after the signature bow tie he always wore.
- Lee Tressel, college football coach at Baldwinâ"Wallace College and a hall-of-fame member; described as "a cerebral coach who always wore a bow tie and a buzzcut,"
Other 20th-/21st-century people associated with wearing bow ties
- Saul Bellow, novelist, often wore one late in life.
- Finn M. W. Caspersen, financier, philanthropist, often wore bow ties.
- Brian P. Cleary, award winning author of more than 50 children's books.
- Aleister Crowley, English occultist, often wore extravagant bowties.
- Robert Denning, interior designer, wore bow ties exclusively the last fourteen years of his life.
- Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam organization
- Ace Greenberg, former CEO and Chairman of Bear Stearns
- Steve Jobs, Apple Computer founder, wore bow ties in the 1980s
- C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General known for his "omnipresent red bow tie"
- Howard Phillips, former spokesman for Nintendo as well as first editor of Nintendo Power magazine from the early 1980s until 1991
- Orville Redenbacher (1907â"1995), owner of an American popcorn business who appeared in commercials for it and had his image on the boxes â" always wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a bow tie.
- Jim Rogers (born 1942), author
- Albert Schweitzer, German physician, humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize laureate
- W. Clement Stone (1902â"2002), businessman and philanthropist, had a collection of 250 bow ties.
- James Strong, Australian businessman who was CEO of Qantas from 1993 to 2001.
Bow ties are a consistent element in the depiction of some fictional characters.
Characters in film and television
Film and television characters portrayed by human actors as consistently wearing bow ties have included:
- Indiana Jones of the Indiana Jones (franchise) is frequently seen wearing a bow tie with his suit.
- In spin-off film My Little Pony: Equestria Girls and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls â" Rainbow Rocks. Twilight Sparkle wears a pink mini bow tie when transformed into teenage human girl
- Sammy Nelson
- Blaine Anderson, a character in Glee, can frequently be seen wearing a bow tie.
- Billy Bunter, a character in the works of Charles Hamilton
- Chuck Bass, a character in Gossip Girl known for his dandy sense of style, is often seen sporting a bow tie with a matching pocket square.
- Gil Chesterton, a character on Frasier, was never seen without a bow tie.
- Bertram Cooper, a character in the drama series Mad Men who is never seen without a bow tie.
- The Doctor, central character of Doctor Who, in his second, third and eleventh incarnations. Actor Matt Smith pressed for the bow tie in his characterisation who regularly declares that "bow ties are cool".
- Richard Gilmore, the patriarch of the Gilmore family on the TV series Gilmore Girls, played by actor Edward Herrmann, was always seen wearing a bow tie.
- Mr. Hooper, Sesame Street character played by Will Lee
- Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, M.D., M.E. the Chief Medical Examiner in NCIS is always seen wearing a bow tie of various colors.
- Brother Mouzone, the enforcer who appears in The Wire television series, wears a "trademark suit and bowtie" and glasses, consistent with his image of being "more like a banker or entrepreneur or scholar" than a hitman.
- Les Nessman, character in WKRP in Cincinnati television sitcom
- Hercule Poirot, fictional detective
- Buckaroo Banzai, titular neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star and comic book hero from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, sports a bow tie throughout the film.
- Uncle Wally, Sesame Street character played by Bill McCutcheon
- Sidney Reilly as played by Sam Neill in the BBC television mini-series Reilly, Ace of Spies.
- Baxter Stockman wears a bowtie in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.
Characters in comics, cartoons, and anime
Bow ties are a consistent part of the depiction of many characters created by artists for entertainment media including comics, cartoons, and anime.
Among these are many Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters:
- Boo-Boo Bear
- The mouse Pixie and the cat Mr. Jinks in the cartoon Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks
- Magilla Gorilla
- Huckleberry Hound
- Jerry, the mouse in Tom and Jerry (1975â"1977)
- Snagglepuss, Hanna-Barbera cartoon character created in 1959, a pink anthropomorphic mountain lion.
Other artist-created characters consistently or frequently depicted in bow ties include:
- Bernard Bernoulli of the Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle computer games.
- Caliborn from Homestuck
- Dagwood Bumstead, character in Blondie comic strip
- The Cat in the Hat
- Donald Duck, Disney cartoon character
- Count Duckula always wore a red bow tie as part of his ensemble.
- Conan Edogawa, alias of character Jimmy Kudo in "Detective Conan" manga and anime comics
- Harvey, in the play and movie of the same name, the invisible, bow-tied, 6-foot rabbit whose portrait was shown in the play and movie with him wearing a bow tie
- Carl Fredricksen, the main character in the 2009 Pixar film, Up.
- Hoppity Hooper, cartoon character in Jay Ward Productions
- Krusty the Clown, cartoon character in The Simpsons
- Leopold the Cat, the namesake of a Russian cartoon series, wears a bow tie, even when he goes swimming.
- Mickey Mouse
- Octavia, a recurring background character in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, is depicted wearing a pink bowtie with a white collar.
- Mister Peabody, the main character of Peabody's Improbable History.
- Porky Pig, Looney Tunes cartoon character.
- Franklin "Foggy" Nelson. In the Marvel Daredevil comics, Nelson is a lawyer, best friend and longtime business partner of blind lawyer Matthew M. Murdock (a.k.a. the masked vigilante Daredevil. Even though Foggy Nelson occasionally wears standard neckties, he is partial to bowties.
- Jimmy Olsen often was depicted wearing a bow tie in the comic titles Superman and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen
- Opus the Penguin, character in Bloom County comic strip
- The Penguin, in Batman comics, movies and television program, except for the 1992 Batman Returns in which he wore a jabot
- Simon Petrikov. A character from "Adventure Time." Wore a red bowtie as part of his suit prior to the Great Mushroom War and turning into the Ice King.
- Jack Point, character in Judge Dredd comic books. The bow tie is part of his clown-like clothing.
- Waylon Smithers, cartoon character in The Simpsons
- Moe Szyslak, cartoon character in The Simpsons
- Rich Uncle Pennybags, aka Mr. Monopoly, from the board game Monopoly is frequently shown wearing a bow tie.
- Zatanna, character from the DC Universe