Born in the East End of London, Vidal Sassoon had no intention of becoming a hairdresser, preferring to fight Osmond Mosley’s fascists, who were once again stirring up racial hatred on the post-war streets of London.

He grew up in a small London flat, until his father left home. The five year old Vidal and his little brother survived six years in a orphanage, before their mother remarried and could afford to care for them again. When he was 14, she dreamed one night of Vidal in a barber shop, and she immediately took the boy to Cohen’s Beauty & Barber Shop, and apprenticed him to Cohen. If he must be a hairdresser, Vidal decided he would have to be the best, so he went religiously to the theatre to tune his ear and voice to “posh” English, and found work in the West End. A few years after his return he set up his first salon – a tiny room on the third floor above Bond Street. In 1956, Sassoon married his first wife Elaine Wood but this relationship ended in 1958, when she left him for British water-skiing champion David Nations. For nine years he experimented with new cuts and techniques, searching for simple, elegant styles. By 1963, he had pioneered the Bob and Five-Point Cut, which made him famous and gave him the title “the founder of modern hairdressing”. His went on to give his name to a chain of hair salons in the UK and the United States, and his range of haircare products continue to enjoy massive sales worldwide. In 1967, Sassoon married actress Beverly Adams, with whom he had four children including daughters Catya (born 1968) and Eden (1973), and sons Elan (1970) and David. They divorced in 1980. He moved to the US in the 1980s where he sold his name to a number of hair care product manufacturers including Proctor & Gamble. Former salon colleagues also bought his salons and the right to use his name, expanding his empire in the UK and US. Sassoon married his third wife, dressage champion and former fashion model Jeanette Hartford-Davis in 1983 but they divorced shortly afterwards. He wed Rhonda C Sassoon in 1992. He ended his partnership with Proctor & Gamble in 2003 after suing them for focusing on their own products rather than his.  He sold his branch of hair salons in 2002 and revealed he was no longer associated with the hair care products using his name in 2004. In 2009, he was honoured with a CBE from the Queen and in 2010, a film documentary was devoted to the hair stylist. ‘Vidal Sassoon: The Movie’ was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival to much critical acclaim. Sassoon was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009, although this was not revealed until 2011. He has been undergoing treatment in both Beverly Hills and London.


Rosemary’s Baby (1968) Mia Farrow’s hairdresser.Vidal charged $5000 to do Mia Farrow’s hair in the legendary film, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, a fortune in 1968.


The most famous hairdresser in the world tells his fascinating life story

 Vidal Sassoon’s extraordinary life has taken him from an impoverished childhood to global fame as the father of modern hairdressing, whose slick sharp cutting took the fashion world by storm. His memoir begins with surprising and often moving stories of his early life—his time at the Spanish & Portuguese Jewish orphanage in Maida Vale, warring with fascists in London’s East End, and fighting in the army of the fledgling state of Israel in the late 1940s. He then discusses his extraordinary career, during which he cut the …

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s