Obit of the Day: Hairdresser to Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy
Kenneth Battelle was a trend-setter in hairstyling in the 1950s and 1960s. Working out of salons in New York (first for Helena Rubenstein and then on his own) Battelle wanted women to use a more “natural” style with less hairspray and more rollers.
Following service in World War II, Mr. Battelle came to New York City with $8 and lied about his experience to earn a chair at Ms. Rubenstein’s famed hair salon.
And then he got his big break. (Yes, even in hairstyling there are big breaks.)
In 1954 the newly-wed Jacqueline Kennedy came into the salon but her regular stylist was not available. Mr. Battelle was called in to work with her hair. He would create her iconic hairstyle that, when she and her husband John Kennedy entered the White House in 1961, would become the envy of women around the world. He was specifically proud of giving Mrs. Kennedy’s bouffant a “tousled style.”
(Mr. Battelle was at the White House doing touch-ups on Mrs. Kennedy’s hair on November 21, 1963 as she was readying herself for the ill-fated trip to Dallas, Texas.)
Mr. Battelle’s clientele would include Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, and Judy Garland. But his second-most famous client was Marilyn Monrose whose hair was nearly ruined by overbleaching and overperming. He was her stylist when she sang her provocative version of “Happy Birthday” for President Kennedy in 1962.
Kenneth Battelle, who asked to be called simply “Kenneth,” died May 12, 2013 at the age of 86.
Source: Daily Telegraph
(image of Kenneth Battelle and Marilyn Monroe, 1958, is courtesy of missingmarilyn.tumblr.com. Original source, unknown.)
Another famous hairstylist featured on OOTD: Vidal Sassoon