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Famed fashion icon Vidal Sassoon dead at 84

Vidal Sassoon

Famed hair stylist and fashion icon Vidal Sassoon was found dead at his Mulholland Drive home, authorities said.

Law enforcement sources said Sassoon, 84, died after an unspecified illness and that family were by his side. No details further details were immediately available.

Sassoon, hugely influential in the hair care and fashion worlds, was the subject of a 2010 documentary.

According to a Times profile in 1999, Sassoon went to work at age 14. As a "shampoo boy," he was responsible for mixing dyes: bleach powder, peroxide and ammonia.

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"The ammonia jar was kept locked up because if you spilled it, it would clean out the sinuses of the block, not just the salon," he explained.

In 1954, he opened his first salon in London. "I gave myself five years. If I couldn't change anything, I was out of there."

"When I first came into hair, women were coming in and you'd place a hat on their hair and you'd dress their hair around it," says Sassoon. "We learned to put discipline in the haircuts by using actual geometry, actual architectural shapes and bone structure. The cut had to be perfect and layered beautifully, so that when a woman shook it, it just fell back in."

He eventually opened a New York salon. In 1973, his hair-care products debuted to the trade. A couple of years later, he moved to Los Angeles, and by 1980, he even briefly had his own American television talk show. It was quite a life for a poor boy from London's East End.

Sassoon was married four times. [Correction: Sassoon was married four times. He married his current wife, Ronnie, in 1992. An earlier version of this post said they met seven years ago.]

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Vidal Sassoon. Credit: Phase 4 Films

 
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