Celebrity hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, who was committed to fighting anti-Semitism and fought in Israel’s War of Independence, died May 9 in his Los Angeles home at 84. He had been battling leukemia.
Sassoon, a London native, from the age of 3 grew up in a Jewish orphanage after his father left the family. He left school at 14 to become an apprentice hairdresser.
In 1948, at the age of 20, Sassoon joined the Palmach, an elite fighting force of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence.
He opened his first salon in London in 1954, and became known for his modern and low-maintenance hairstyles for women.
Sassoon opened more salons in England and then in the United States. In 1973 he debuted a line of shampoos and styling products, gaining fame appearing in TV commercials using the slogan “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.”
In 1982 he established the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. — jta