Hollywood Hairstylist Kenneth Battelle Dies at 86
His A-list clients included Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball.
Kenneth Battelle, the famed hairstylist whose A-list clientele included Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball, who called him "God," died Sunday at his home in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., The New York Times reports. He was 86.
Battelle became famous in the '50s and '60s after re-shaping the locks of Kennedy (when she not yet the First Lady) into the bouffant style that became her signature; dubbed "Secretary of Grooming," he volume-ized her hair with large Lucite rollers in order to make her face appear longer.
As for Monroe, Battelle came to the rescue in 1958 when he softened the Hollywood icon's damaged platinum mane, which had been falling out because of too much bleaching and perming, according to the Times. He later joined Monroe at the 1959 premiere of Some Like it Hot in Chicago and also did her hair for one of her most legendary moments: singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday at Madison Square Garden in 1962.
Other boldfaced names among Battelle's famous and moneyed clientele: Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Brooke Astor and Katherine Graham.
He is the only hairstylist ever to receive the now-defunct Coty American Fashion Critics' Award, in 1961, and that same year, Vogue christened Battelle -- who preferred to be called by one name: "Kenneth" -- as the hair guru "almost every famous female head in the world has gone or will go."
From It Girls to Everyday Women, Battelle, who ran a lively and popular salon on East 54th Street in Manhattan, influenced coiffs by encouraging a softer, more natural and romantic style -- achieved by rollers -- over the use of hairspray, bleaches and perm treatments.