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Hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, 84, Fought With Haganah

May 17, 2012
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Vidal Sassoon

Celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, who was committed to battling anti-Semitism and fought in Israel's War of Independence, died at the age of 84 in his Los Angeles home on May 9.

According to the Los Angeles Times, he had been battling leukemia.

Starting at the age of 3, Sassoon, a London native born into a Sephardic home, lived in a Jewish orphanage along with a younger brother after their father abandoned the family.

He left school at 14 to become an apprentice hairdresser.

In 1948, at the age of 20, he joined the Haganah and fought in Israel's War for Independence. He had told the London Telegraph: "When you think of 2,000 years of being put down and suddenly you are a nation rising, it was a wonderful feeling. There were only 600,000 people defending the country against five armies, so everyone had something to do."

He opened his first salon in London in 1954, and became known for his modern and low-maintenance hairstyles that used geometric cutting and layers to achieve a sleek and natural look. That style was often referred to as the "Wedge Bob."

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 by appearing in TV commercials using the slogan, "If you don't look good, we don't look good."

A documentary about his life and work was released in 2010.

In 1982, he established the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He toured the United States to raise funds for the center.

His philanthropy included the Vidal Sassoon Foundation.

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