On Wednesday, May 9th, Vidal Sassoon passed away at his Los Angeles home. Police stated that there were no signs of foul play and that they believe the death was from natural causes, which is understandable considering his age and his struggle with Leukemia.
Vidal Sassoon is known for changing the style of women’s hair from the constricting glued-in-place styles of the 1950s. Sassoon felt that women who were entering the workforce would no longer have the time available to set curlers nightly, visit the salon at least once per week and sit under a dryer for hours at a time in order to properly style their hair. Instead, he implemented the “wash and go” hairstyle, which is responsible for many of our styles and cuts today. In fact, his most enduring cut or style has been “the bob”, which he created in a number of variations, many of which are still seen today.
Due to Sassoon, women were once more able to run their fingers through their hair and weren’t expected to spend hours attempting to artificially style their hair several inches high and hairspray it until it stood motionless. Instead, it was seen as ideal to have movement in the hair and to have more natural styles. Sassoon was inspired by his love of architecture and used strong angles and choppy cuts to highlight and compliment the angles of the face. His bob haircut gained its greatest notoriety after he was paid $5,000 to cut Mia Farrow’s iconic pixie cut for the 1968 film, “Rosemary’s Baby”.
Sassoon opened salons across the country and cut hair for a number of great celebrities. He was also among the first to mass produce products under his name. In fact, he sold the use of his name to Proctor & Gamble to create the line of hair products, reaching sales of over $100 million annually before selling his company in 1983.
Sassoon is survived by his fourth wife, Rhonda, and his three living children. His daughter Catya died in 2002 of a drug overdose.
Because Sassoon has a very high value estate and a complicated family situation (multiple marriages with children from different mothers), an estate plan should have been created to ensure that his assets were protected and divided according to his wishes. Having a court disperse his assets would likely create a large amount of conflict in a situation such as his, and it is unlikely that the court would reach the same distribution decisions as Sassoon would have wanted. His estate would also be prone to far greater taxes and fees if he did not create a living trust. So far, we have heard no information on his estate value or distribution, which often infers that there is a living trust involved, keeping the matters private. Otherwise, anyone would have ready access to the information through the courts records.