David Bowie was punched in the left eye as a teenager, leaving it permanently dilated. He later thanked his friend, George Underwood, for doing so, saying it gave him “a kind of mystique.” This mystique helped enhance some of Bowie’s most iconic images.

The Remarkable Story Behind David Bowie’s Most Iconic Feature

“At the center of it all, your eyes, your eyes …”

Many aspects of the life and incredible achievements of David Bowie will be considered in the weeks and months ahead following the news of his death. Yet the cryptic lyric above from the lead single on David Bowie’s new album is a reminder that the unusual appearance of his eyes was a key part of the singer’s star persona.

Indeed their iconic presence features in the advertising campaign for ★[Blackstar]. For many people it is that look – that the eyes formed a core part of – that will be an abiding memory of Bowie.

So, why were they apparently two different colors?

Complete heterochromia is a fairly rare condition (in humans) whereby each iris is a distinctly different color… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

14 thoughts on “David Bowie was punched in the left eye as a teenager, leaving it permanently dilated. He later thanked his friend, George Underwood, for doing so, saying it gave him “a kind of mystique.” This mystique helped enhance some of Bowie’s most iconic images.”

  1. RedSonGamble

    Permanent dilation must cause vision problems right? Like half of everything is crazy bright?

  2. LuminosXI

    I got permanent pancreas damage from a blind gut punch in the lunchline in elementary, didn’t even know the kid, most women feel sorry and haven’t commented on the sex appeal

  3. superfrazz

    My eye is like that but I was born with it, wish I had a cool punched in the face story like Bowie though.

  4. shaka_sulu

    Billy Joel says he got his voice from getting his nose punched so often from boxing.

  5. estofaulty

    Yup. A lot of people think his eyes are two different colors — heterochromia. But the way his eyes were dilated just makes it kind of seem that way. They’re actually both the same color.

  6. PorkfatWilly

    I got a big scar through my eyebrow from getting repeatedly punched in the eye from running my mouth. The chicks say it’s kinda hot. Thanks to everybody who ever beat my ass.

  7. MateoElJefe

    My brother has this. He took a slapshot straight to the eye. Remarkably it did not fracture his orbit. The doctors figures it hit dead center so the impact was even displaced.
    He has no vision issues. In fact he’s only the one in the family that doesn’t need corrective lenses.
    And… The one blue and one black eye was frequently a conversation starter that helped his dating resume.

  8. PlumCrazyVee

    My BFF was in a car accident that left her with one eye that is permanently dilated. She was very self conscious about it until I started calling it her Bowie eye. So thank you George, for ultimately helping her too.

  9. Kalkaline

    How have I never noticed David Bowie’s dilated eye?

  10. sentorien

    I wonder if that permanent dilation meant everything was brighter in his vision in that eye.

    Would it be annoying? I suppose he’d get used to it.

    I’d just feel like it’d be like walking outside and getting blasted in the face by the sun all the time.

    Probably had mad night vision!

  11. rellik13xx

    He thanked him for the extra oompfh in his art

  12. beeschurgerz

    Wear the eye patch, Bret. Wear the funky funky eye patch, Bret.

  13. myperfectchaos

    The coincidental timing of this post is astounding to me. I’m a huge fan of labyrinth and can quote pretty much the whole movie word for word. I decided to watch it with my kids tonight and for the first time ever I noticed his eyes were weird. At first I thought that maybe he had a color contact in one eye but then I realized that the left one was just dilated. I thought that it was a very interesting effect to do for the movie and that I needed to google it later to find out more details about it. After getting them to bed and finishing getting Christmas stuff ready I get in to bed and do my nightly check if reddit to find this post as one of the top five posts on the front page. Seriously what are the chances? I saw this movie in the theaters as a kid and this is the first time I’ve ever paid enough attention to his eyes to notice this and question it. I’m laying here in so much awe that I’m writing this long ass post that no one is even gonna read.

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