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Sassoon, Vidal

SASSOON, VIDAL (1928– ), British hairdresser and anti-defamation philanthropist. No relation to the famous and wealthy British family of the same name, Vidal Sassoon was born to poverty in London's East End, where he fought Fascist thugs in the street and spent much of his childhood in an orphanage. At 14 he was apprenticed to a Jewish barber in the East End and, after World War II, became one of the leading hairdressers to London's Society ladies in the West End. His innovative hair styling made him famous, and he has been called "the father of modern hairdressing." Sassoon founded a highly successful international chain of hairdressers and hair care products. He fought for Israel in the 1948 War of Independence and, in 1962, founded the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is internationally known for funding research about and monitoring antisemitic activities.