Iconic Hairstylist Vidal Sassoon Dead at 84

Sassoon is credited with the "wash and wear" philosophy and low-maintenence cuts

By Jonathan Lloyd and Emily Feldman
|  Wednesday, May 9, 2012  |  Updated 7:21 PM PDT
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Vidal Sassoon is credited with the

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Vidal Sassoon is credited with the "wash and wear" philosophy and low-maintenence cuts. The iconic hairstylist died Wednesday, May 9, at his home in Bel Air. He was 84 years old. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Bel Air for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 9, 2012.

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Famed hairstylist Vidal Sassoon has died at the age of 84, according to an LAPD spokesperson.

LAPD officials told NBC4 officers responded to a report of a death at his residence at about 10:30 a.m. on the 15000 block of Mulholland Drive. An LAPD spokesperson said Sassoon apparently died of natural causes.

Related: Vidal Sassoon Glorfied, Storified

It was not immediately clear whether the coroner was at the scene.

The London-born hairdresser is credited with revolutionizing women's beauty regimens with his "wash and wear" philosophy and short, low-maintenence haircuts—the antidote to complex hairdos that dominated the beauty landscape when he first picked up shears in the 1950s. 

"Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1993. "They didn't have time to sit under the dryer anymore."

Sassoon has cut and styled the hair of Hollywood luminaries and fashion elite, from British fashion designer Mary Quant, who popularized the miniskirt, to Mia Farrow, whose short cut in "Rosemary's Baby" was Sassoon's handywork.

Sassoon's seven-decade career was chronicled in a 2011 documentary, "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie" that provided a glimpse into his impoverished childhood, spent partially in a Jewish orphanage before landing an apprenticeship as a shampoo boy at the age of 14. 

By the 1960s models and celebrities were flying to his London salon for his famous five points hair style, worn by Grace Coddington. 

In a 2011 interview with The Sunday Telegraph's Seven Magazine, Sassoon described the egaltarian effect of his angular styles.

"When it was shampoo and set people came once a week and went to the Ritz for lunch adn there was no equality," he said. "By creating a situation that was about angles of the haircut you could keep it for four or five weeks without needing to do anything with it, so it worked beautifully. The socialites were sitting net to secretaries."

After moving to the U.S., Sassoon and his second wife Beverly wrote a best-selling book, "A Year of Beauty and Health," and built up a beauty business with the famous slogan, "if you don't look good, we don't look good."

By the 1980s his name was tacked on to everything from shampoos and conditioners to a chain of hair salons in the U.S. and U.K.

Sassoon was married four times and had four children with his second wife.

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