On Sunday's premiere of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, an actress wore a pubic wig to compensate for her own modern aesthetic. Mostly, merkins are employed to sidestep more restrictive MPAA ratings, but our collection of famous fake fur is still NSFW.
The Daily Beast interviewed Nicki Ledermann, the makeup artist who worked on Boardwalk Empire, who confirmed that a merkin was, indeed, used on the actress playing a corpse in order to "keep it real" in regards to the Prohibition-era in which the series takes place.
Similarly, Kate Winslet famously donned a merkin for her Oscar-winning role The Reader, saying that she tried to grow her pubes out for the role, but that after "years of waxing…it doesn't come back quite the way it used to.
Amy Landecker had the same issue when she was asked by the costume designer for A Serious Man to grow out her pubic hair to achieve a more authentic 1967 look for her naked sunbathing scene, so she was fitted with a crotch wig.
For the "bottomless party" scene in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the girls all wore merkins to avoid an NC17 rating.
The nude extras in The Bank Job—set in 1971—were all required to wear merkins to look the part.
In August, adult film star Sasha Grey caused a stir on the internet after she was naked with a full bush in an episode of Entourage. Unlike other porn stars, Grey frequently will appear in her films or photos with some hair down there, but just not that much. (Google image it yourself.)
Many believe that Suzanna Hamilton added some more hair, for modesty purposes, for her scenes in 1984.
Caroline Ducey doesn't seem to have a problem with modesty though, given her roles in racy movies like Romance. However, because of its mainstream release, and R rating, a merkin was most likely used.
Patricia Arquette made her own merkin from random prop hair she found on the set of Human Nature, saying, "Look, I'm not going to show my own pubes here!"
In an episode of Sex and the City, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) discovered that one of her pubes was gray. Not wanting to shave or wax—because her boyfriend preferred a "full bush"—she dyed it, but it came out the wrong color.
Heidi Klum has discussed this "specially-made wig" for her role in Blow Dry.
Mary-Louise Parker supposedly wore a merkin in Angels in America.
And then there are the merkins that are used for comedic affect like Alanna Ubach's in Waiting.
And of course, Anna Faris' in Scary Movie.