'America's Got Talent' Hairstylist Russell Latham Dies at 54

9:08 PM PST 08/26/2011 by Mike Barnes

His department earned the show’s first-ever Emmy nomination; he also worked on Paula Abdul's "Love to Dance" and "The Young and the Restless."

Russell Latham, a renowned Hollywood hairstylist who worked on NBC summer hit America’s Got Talent since its 2006 debut, died of kidney failure Aug. 18 at his Los Feliz home in Los Angeles. He was 54.

Responsible for the look of the judges and contestants on the show, Latham came to work despite having to go through hours of dialysis each week, and America's Got Talent in July received an Emmy nomination for outstanding hairstyling for a multicamera series or special — the show's first-ever nom.

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The crew of more than 200 shared a moment of silence onstage last week, and this week's shows were dedicated to him. 

Latham also headed the hair department for Paula Abdul’s short-lived CBS show Live to Dance.

A native of Waco, Texas, who graduated from Baylor University, Latham ran the hair departments of such network daytime soap operas as Loving, Sunset Beach and The Young and the Restless for which he earned a Daytime Emmy nom and played the sought-after hairstylist in Genoa City, Wis. He served as department head on the Q Television Network — a defunct cable channel targeted to lesbian, gay and bisexual audiences — and designed and ran up to eight live shows daily.

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As a celebrity hairstylist, Latham tended to such stars as Betty White, Bea Arthur, Regis Philbin, David Hasselhoff, Leslie Uggams, Florence Henderson and All My Children's Patricia Barry. For several years, he wrote a column, "Coif-y Talk," for Soap Opera Digest.

Survivors include his brother Charles and nephews James, Charles Jr, Frank III, Robert and John.

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