Vidal Sassoon: The Hair Stylist and Business Tycoon
Vidal Sassoon (January 17, 1928 – May 9, 2012) was a British-Jewish hairdresser and businessman.
Sassoon was born into a Jewish family in London. His father had Greek roots, while his mother, of Ukrainian-Jewish descent, came from Kiev. His father left the family when Vidal was just four years old, and his brother was only two.
A year later, his mother sent him to a Jewish orphanage, where he stayed for six years. After his mother remarried, the family reunited. He was too young to serve in the military during World War II but was a member of the "43 Group," a Jewish militia that clashed with fascist groups in London.
In 1948, he immigrated to Israel as part of the Machal (volunteers from abroad) and fought on the frontlines in the Negev during the War of Independence.
In 1954, Sassoon opened his first salon in London, which gained immense popularity during the 1960s. In 1968, he styled Mia Farrow's hair for the film "Rosemary's Baby." His hair designs revolutionized the industry, leading him to establish an international network of salons and a line of hair care products. In 1975, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he resided until his death.
He sold the rights to his name and hair care product line in 1982, but continued to receive royalties. In 2003, he sued the company that had acquired his brand, alleging that they were diluting his legacy. In 2004, the two parties reached a settlement.
Sassoon married Canadian actress Beverly Adams in 1967. They had four children together, one of whom was adopted. The couple divorced in 1986. He later married Rhonda, a manager at Procter & Gamble. His daughter, Catya Sassoon, was an actress who tragically passed away from a drug overdose in 2002.
In 2009, Sassoon was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in honor of his birthday.
In his name, the "Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism" was established at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Vidal Sassoon's impact on the world of hairdressing and his legacy as a successful businessman and philanthropist continue to be celebrated today.
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