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Hair History: Spotlight on Kenneth Battelle, Marilyn Monroe’s Hairstylist

Kenneth Battelle might not be as famous a name as Vidal Sassoon or Trevor Sorbie, but he was in fact the first hairdresser to gain first-name fame as a “household name”. This hairstylist travelled with Marilyn Monroe, created Jackie Kennedy’s signature bouffant style, did Lauren Bacall’s hair, and had a massive salon within the Vanderbilt mansion where uniformed maids served finger sandwiches to clients.

The day Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday Mr President” to JFK, Kenneth did her hair. Another achievement was that he saved her hair from over-bleaching and perming, which spread his fame around the world.

In the 1970s Kenneth was responsible for ending the “helmet head” era by creating a soft, pretty look for Vogue, Glamour, and Harper’s Bazaar, the iconic fashion magazines of the time. He did Marilyn Monroe’s hair for her very last photo shoot before she died, with Vogue (pictured) – a reminder how hairstylists share the high and low moments with their clients!

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