Richest Business
Net Worth:
$200 Million
Jan 17, 1928 - May 9, 2012 (84 years old)
Hairdresser, Businessperson, Philanthropist
United Kingdom
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What Was Vidal Sassoon's Net Worth?

Vidal Sassoon CBE was a British hairstylist, author, and entrepreneur who had a net worth of $200 million at the time of his death in 2012. Vidal Sassoon grew up primarily in an orphanage and began working as a hairdressing apprentice when he a teenager. He was very politically active as a teenager and young adult, working as part of the 43 Group, an organization that worked against anti-Semitism after World War II. Sassoon also fought in the Arab-Israeli War.

After training under hairdresser Raymond Bessone, he went on to create many iconic hairstyles for women, including his modern take on the "bob." His cuts were meant to be wash-and-go, which was a departure from the high-maintenance styles that were in vogue at the time. Vidal is credited with changing women's hair trends in the Western World. By the 1980s, he had a worldwide hair care line and a chain of salons. He sold the salons and the hair care line to the Regis Corporation in 2002.

In 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Sassoon Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and in 2010, the acclaimed documentary, "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie," was released. Vidal published the books "Sorry I Kept You Waiting, Madam" (1968), "A Year of Beauty and Health" (1975), "Cutting Hair the Vidal Sassoon Way"(1978), and "Vidal: The Autobiography" (2010).

Early Life

Vidal Sassoon was born on January 17, 1928, in Hammersmith, London, England. Vidal's mother, Betty, was of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, and her family left Ukraine in the 1880s due to the anti-Semitism that was prevalent there at the time. His father, Jack, left the family when Sassoon was 3 years old, and his heritage was Sephardi Jewish. Vidal's younger brother, Ivor, died of a heart attack in his 40s. After Jack abandoned the family, Betty couldn't support herself and the children, and they became homeless after being evicted. They moved in with Betty's sister, who had three children, living in a tiny flat with no indoor toilet. Betty eventually placed Vidal and Ivor in a Jewish orphanage, and they stayed there for seven years, until Betty remarried. Sassoon attended the Christian school Essendine Road Primary School, where he was bullied for being Jewish and once won an all-school 100-yard dash contest. Vidal described himself as a "very bad student," and during his youth, he volunteered as a choir boy at a local synagogue. Sassoon and his classmates were evacuated on September 3, 1939, after World War II began. In "Vidal: The Autobiography," he stated, "It's a date I'll never forget. Suddenly my brother and I and all our fellow orphans were on trains with hundreds of thousands of other kids, moving out of London." Vidal and Ivor were taken to a small village called Holt, Wiltshire.

After Sassoon returned to London, the 14-year-old left school and took a job as a messenger. Since the war was still going on and London was being bombed, Vidal had to sleep in underground shelters. Though Sassoon initially wanted to become a football player, his mother wanted him to be a professional hairdresser. When she took him to Adolph Cohen's hairdressing school, they discovered that the two-year program cost more than they could afford, but Cohen told Sassoon, "You seem to have very good manners, young man. Start Monday and forget the cost." When Vidal was 17, he joined the Jewish veterans' organization the 43 Group, becoming the group's youngest member. The 43 Group broke up fascist meetings, and in 2008, "The Daily Telegraph" referred to Sassoon as an "anti-fascist warrior-hairdresser." In 1948, Vidal joined the Palmach, which later became part of the Israel Defense Forces, and he fought in the Arab–Israeli War.


After training with Raymond Bessone in Mayfair, Sassoon opened his own salon in London in 1954. He became known for efficient and geometric hairstyles, and he said of his career, "If I was going to be in hairdressing, I wanted to change things. I wanted to eliminate the superfluous and get down to the basic angles of cut and shape." In 1965, he opened his first salon in the U.S., on Madison Avenue in New York City, and the following year, he created Clara Bow-inspired hairstyles for Emanuel Ungaro. In 1968, Vidal created Mia Farrow's pixie cut for the film "Rosemary's Baby." He moved to Los Angeles in the early '70s, and in 1973, he launched his Vidal Sassoon hair care products, which used the tagline "If you don't look good, we don't look good." Actor Michael Caine, who had been Sassoon's roommate when he was young, claimed that he inspired Vidal to create his hair care line, saying, "I told him that he must have something that is working for him while he slept. I told him he had to make shampoos and other hair care products." Former colleagues bought Vidal's salons and gained the right to use his famous name, and the Helen of Troy Corporation started manufacturing Vidal Sassoon products in the early '80s.

In 1983, Richardson-Vicks bought Vidal Sassoon Inc. and Vidal's Santa Monica hairdressing school. The previous year, sales of Vidal Sassoon hair care products had exceeded $110 million. Procter & Gamble later purchased the company, and Sassoon served as a consultant through the mid-1990s. In 2003, he sued Procter & Gamble for fraud and breach of contract, alleging that the company had neglected to adequately market his products in favor of their other product lines. In the early '80s, Vidal sold his business interests in order to devote his time to philanthropy. In 1980, he starred on the short-lived TV series "Your New Day with Vidal Sassoon. The documentary "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie" was released in 2010, and in 2012, artist Sir Peter Blake chose Sassoon as one of the British cultural icons to be featured on the new version of the album cover for the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Vidal Sassoon

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Personal Life

Vidal was married to his salon's receptionist, Elaine Wood, from 1956 to 1958. He then wed actress Beverly Adams, who he met on the set of 1967's "Torture Garden," on February 16, 1967. Sassoon and Adams welcomed three biological children, Eden Sassoon, Elan, and Catya, and one adopted child, David, before divorcing in January 1981. Sadly, Catya died of a heart attack due to drug use in 2002. Vidal eventually became estranged from David and disinherited him. Sassoon married former model Jeanette Hartford-Davis on November 6, 1983. They split up shortly after the wedding. In 1992, Vidal wed designer Rhonda Holbrook (better known as "Ronnie"), and they remained married until his death in May 2012. Sassoon was committed to eradicating anti-Semitism, and he established the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982. He was also a supporter of the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles and the Boys Clubs of America.


Vidal was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, and he passed away on May 9, 2012, at his Bel Air home. His family announced the news in a statement reading:

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Vidal Sassoon CBE, who died this morning at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by loved ones. The 84-year-old hairdresser was born in 1928 and sadly lost his battle with leukaemia today. He became the most celebrated hairdresser in the world having begun his career as an apprentice during the Second World War, going on to revolutionise an industry through his iconic haircuts, salons, schools and product lines. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 20 years Ronnie, his children, grandchildren, family and friends."

Real Estate

Vidal and Ronnie owned the Singleton House in Los Angeles, which includes four bedrooms and five bathrooms and sits on over five acres of land. They put the home on the market for $19.955 million in 2007, but it didn't sell. After Vidal's death, the home was listed for $17.995 million. The couple also owned two homes in Cincinnati's Mt. Adams neighborhood. They sold one for $900,000 in 2007, and they paid $1.2 million for their other home in 2006. That home went on the market for $1.25 million in 2017.

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