Born-again Baldy More Has His Namesake's Character

City's Favorite Son Succeeds With New Career, New Name

September 11, 1991|By Arthur Hirsch

Charles G. Domm and Baldy More meet only occasionally these days, usually when it comes time to sign checks or official papers. Baldy More takes up a pen and signs the name, Charles G. Domm, then goes aboutthe business of Baldy More.

At least that's how Baldy More tells it. He talks about Charles Domm as Shirley MacLaine might discuss a previous life.

Baldy More -- former Baltimore television personality, occasionalmovie extra, casting agent, television comedy writer and boxing ringroustabout -- is 10 years old this month. That's how long it's been since the big man with the shaved head, the ready smile and the beardfirst appeared on television advertisements during "Say Baltimore," a Channel 2 public affairs show. He'd write numbers on his bald head,even grow a little patch of grass up there. Anything for a few yucks.

These days, Baldy, who has worn many hats in his time, hangs hiswork-day hat on Crain Highway in Glen Burnie selling annuities and life insurance policies for LifeUSA.

Anyone who has seen Baldy as the circus strong man in Barry Levinson's "Avalon," as the barber in John Waters' "Cry-Baby" or a prison guard with Tom Selleck in "Her Alibi" might have a tough time imagining him toiling in the shirt-and-tie world of insurance and high finance.

But his boss, Wayne Silfies, says he fits right in.

"He knows a million people," said Silfies, LifeUSA's marketing director for the 18-state eastern region. "He'svery, very good on the marketing end. He can just walk in to any place and make friends, make conversation."

Baldy made quite an impression at the LifeUSA convention at the Minneapolis Marriott in August. He had brought nothing special to wear for the '50s dance, so he pulled a few sheets off a bed and spent the evening in a makeshift toga-- all 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds of him.

"He was a hit," said Silfies.

This is the Baldy More who helped write and became a stock character on the cable television comedy show, "Baltimore Lampoon," six episodes of which were picked up for national distribution by Nickelodeon and the Arts and Entertainment network. This is the Baldy More who discovered Leslie Glass at a Dundalk nightclub and helped guide her into the movie business and the pages of Playboy via the boxing ring at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie and an introduction to SylvesterStallone.

And how did Baldy More meet Stallone? Well, he ran intohim at a boxing match in northern New Jersey where he had helped to set up the ring. Baldy struck up a conversation and wound up getting invited over to Stallone's place. Typical Baldy. One thing has tendedto lead to another for Baldy More.

"People tend to like me for some mysterious reason," said Baldy, who lives in White Marsh.

As hetells it, he wasn't always this gregarious character. Before September 1981, he went by the name he was given when he was born in Baltimore in April 1947: Charles G. Domm.

Domm, said Baldy, "was the guy who trained in karate and kick-boxing and lived expecting a nuclear holocaust. . . . Domm looked for the darker things; that's why I wanted to do all these things to protect myself. . . . Baldy's much more positive, much more outgoing."

Domm grew up in Highlandtown and played football and lacrosse at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. After graduation, he joined the Green Berets and trained as a specialist in weapons, demolition and interrogations. He served from 1966 until 1968, much of the time at Fort Bragg, N.C., the Green Berets' training base. He did not serve in Vietnam.

After being discharged from the service, he returned to Baltimore, did some work for the family roofing company, then left for Columbus, Ohio, to study psychology and sociology at Ohio State University. He never finished a degree, but he did open a few karate schools there, help manage rock 'n' roll clubs part time, and manage some concert tours.

When he returned to Baltimore in July 1976, he was still Charles Domm, still casting around for his place. He worked for the roofing company and as a bouncer at rock clubs.

"I was tough," said Baldy, describing his personality atthe time as "real explosive. . . . I had a personality flaw. I went into therapy to get at some of the internal conflicts that I wasn't aware of."

Having advanced to third-degree black belt in a Korean style of karate, first degree in Chinese style, Domm competed on the professional kick-boxing circuit, participating in tournaments in seven states in the 1970s and early 1980s.

He first appeared on Baltimore television in the late 1970s, doing editorial replies on Channel 2. Remembering those commentaries, a producer at Channel 2 called himin 1981 to see if he could come up with a character to do commercials during "Say Baltimore." Domm had already shaved his head for the sake of his karate training. With a shaven pate, he figured he would not be distracted by the attentions of young women and would be able tofocus his energy on karate.

So he considered his shaven head. He considered his beloved home city of Baltimore. And Baldy More was born.

These days Baldy, as usual, is juggling several balls. He's working at LifeUSA, auditioning for parts in movies and TV commercials, running his talent agency for celebrity look-alikes, and trying to produce a new television comedy show for children, a program that allows kids to write and submit their own comedy bits. He said his Ohio State psychology classes made him aware of the negative impact television has had on children. He says he wants to do something positive. It's the sort of thing Baldy does, he said.

"If you allow yourself to believe that everything you want is right here, it's yours," said Baldy. "I'm so divorced from Charles Domm that Charles Domm is more ofa memory than anything else."

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