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Celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon dies at 84

Pioneering British celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon died Wednesday aged 84 after a "long and courageous" battle with leukemia, his family said.

Vidal Sassoon (AP-Yonhap News)
Vidal Sassoon (AP-Yonhap News)

The man credited with creating the modern bob haircut and relieving women from the rigors of old-fashioned perms was surrounded by his loved ones when he passed away at his home in Bel Air, California.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Vidal Sassoon CBE, who died this morning at his home in Los Angeles," said a family statement, adding that he "sadly lost his battle with leukemia today."

Mark Hayes, Sassoon International Creative Director, said Sassoon "passed away ... after a long and courageous battle with leukemia.

"Our industry has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. The world rarely encounters someone who had the profound impact that Vidal has had," he added.

Referred to by some as the "founder of hairdressing," Sassoon, who grew up in England, is said to have pioneered the bob haircut and, after opening his first salon in London, launched a network of outlets around the world.

The flamboyant hairstylist, who launched a successful hair-care product range with the slogan "If you don't look good, we don't look good," had lived in the United States since the 1980s.

He was famed for so-called "wash and wear" cuts, easy to maintain, as opposed to the rigid hairstyles of earlier eras.

"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," he told the LA Times in a

1999 interview.

"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."

Nicky Clarke, a British celebrity hairdresser from a younger generation, also paid tribute to Sassoon, calling him "truly one of the greatest icons of hairdressing."

"Certainly he was part of the original Cool Britannia, he is synonymous with that time. He would be one of the top five Swinging Sixties icons along with the Beatles, Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and the Union Jack," he said.

Born to Jewish parents in London, Sassoon spent seven years in a Jewish orphanage after his father, Jack Sassoon, abandoned his family for another woman, according to the IMDb movie industry website.

He was evacuated to the English countryside during World War II, and fought for Israel in the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. He later founded the Vidal Sassoon International Study for Anti-Semitism.

Sassoon opened his first salon in 1954 in London, and his career took off in the swinging 60s, when his clients included Mia Farrow for "Rosemary's Baby" in 1968 and Glenda Jackson for her Oscar-winning role in 1969's "Women in Love."

A 2010 documentary "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie" explored his life from London's impoverished East End via an orphanage to his fame and fortune as hairdresser to the stars.

Sassoon, who married four times, was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honors List for his services to British hairdressing and charity.

He was a life-long fan of Chelsea Football Club.

Sassoon is survived by his wife of 20 years Rhonda and three children from a previous marriage.

In lieu of flowers his family has requested asked that memorial donations be sent to American Friends of The Hebrew University in support of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism. (AFP)


<관련 한글 기사>

'헤어드레싱의 아버지' 비달 사순 끝내...

여성 헤어스타일 분야를 개척한 영국 출신 헤어드레서 비달 사순이 9일 (현지시간) 미국 로스앤젤레스 자택에서 숨졌다.

향년 84세.

로스앤젤레스 경찰 대변인 케빈 메이버거는 유명 인사와 부호들이 몰려사는 로스앤젤레스의 대표적 부촌인 벨에어의 저택에서 사순이 숨진 채 발견됐으며  타살이 나 자살 흔적은 없다고 발표했다.

경찰이 신고를 받고 저택에 출동했을 때 가족들이 모두 집 안에 있었다. 사순은 백혈병과 투병 중이었으나 정확한 사인은 아직 조사 중이다.

사순은 이 세상에 '헤어 드레싱'이라는 분야를 처음 만든 개척자였다.

밥헤어컷이라는 헤어 스타일을 창시했으며 유럽과 미국, 일본, 한국 등 세계 각 국에 '비달 사순 헤어살롱'을 냈다.

또 샴푸를 비롯한 수많은 헤어 관련 미용 제품이 '비달 사순' 상표로 전세계에서 팔린다.

사순이 창안한 헤어스타일은 멋질 뿐 아니라 활동적이고 관리하기 쉬워 여성들에게 단순한 외모의 변화 뿐 아니라 생활과 사고에도 혁명적인 변화를 불러왔다는 평가다.

사순은 영국에서 태어나 자랐다.

아버지는 그리스 테살로니키 지방에서 영국으로 이민온 유대인이었고 어머니는 스페인에서 이주한 유대인이었다.

사순은 바람난 아버지에게 버림받아 유대교회가 운영하는 고아원에서 7년 동안 지내는 등 불우한 어린 시절을 보냈다.

1948년 중동전쟁 때 이스라엘 군에 입대해 참전했고 나중에 유대인 탄압과 배척을 연구하는 비달 사순 국제 연구소를 설립하기도 했다.

1954년 런던에 처음 문을 연 비달 사순 미용실은 1960년대를 뒤흔든 장소가 됐다.

1968년 개봉한 영화 '로즈메리의 아기'에서 열연한 여주인공 미아 패로우, 1969 년 아카데미상을 받은 영화 '우먼인러브' 주인공 글렌다 잭슨은 사순이 창안한 헤어 스타일로 세계인의 눈길을 끌었다.

사순은 2009년 엘리자베스 2세 여왕 생일 때 '대영제국 커맨더 훈장(CBE)'을 받기도 했다.

네번 결혼한 사순은 로스앤젤레스에서 네번째 부인 론다와 전처 소생인 자녀 3명과 살았다.