The Beautiful Life of Vidal Sassoon

The King's Speech
A year later, Sassoon was called home by a succinct telegram from his mother: "It said: Step-father-had-heart-attack. Come-back-and-earn-a-living," he repeats from memory. So he did, but with a newfound feeling of invincibility. "Israel had done me so much good in the sense of the pride of who I was. I came back and I was ready to argue with anyone"—including a number of posh salons that turned him away because of his Cockney accent. Determined to make his mark, Vidal enrolled in speech lessons and scored a job with famed London stylist Raymond "Mr. Teasy-Weasy" Bessone, whom he calls "one of the great characters of all time in hair—and a first-rate cutter."

Photo: Chaloner Woods / Getty Images