Three Hairdressers Snip at Nancy Reagan's Locks—and Each Other

updated 01/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Oh, it's all just getting too, too catty for words! It started when Nancy Reagan invited Mr. Julius, her California hairdresser, to Washington to do her hair for the Inauguration. Monsieur Marc, her New York hairdresser, flew to Washington and let everybody know that he would be available to do Nancy's hair! Well, some people thought that was just too terribly tacky, so Monsieur Marc and Mr. Julius decided to sort of make up and arranged to meet at the Jockey Club for champagne. "Everybody thought we were going to get into a fight with the scissors," says Monsieur Marc. They didn't, of course. "He wasn't very friendly," observes Marc. Julius doesn't like to talk about that night. "I went and had a drink—that's all," he says.

But that wasn't all. The whole thing continued! When Nancy went to Prince Charles' wedding, she brought Julius along. And when she flew to Europe for the economic summit, she brought him again. And both times, Monsieur Marc showed up! He said it was "pure coincidence," that he just happened to be there to see other clients. Can you believe that? Both agree Nancy's so "loyal." She let Marc do her hair once on each trip, just to be nice. Of course, friends say Mr. Julius was absolutely livid! He was coy about it, though. "I got the night off," he says. "I went to the ballet and it was wonderful." But according to one report, Julius was so miffed that while working on a mannequin of Nancy at the Smithsonian, he had this ghastly knife and he flicked it around and said, "I wish it was Marc's head I was sculpting." Well, when that story got around, Nancy asked Marc what he thought about being sculpted like that and he said, "As long as it's done by an artist, I'd be very honored."

It's all wildly complicated. With Nancy, you simply can't tell the hairdressers without a scorecard. Mr. Julius is Julius Bengtsson of West Los Angeles. He's very California with his Levi's and his sweatshirts. He won't reveal his age, but he's been doing Nancy's hair for 15 years, and he still flies to Washington once a month to do her color—"light brown with highlights," he says. Julius uses the money from his $12,000-a-year consulting contract with Clairol to pay for the trips. Monsieur Marc's last name is de Coster. He's 51, Belgian-born and très flamboyant! He loves champagne, nouvelle cuisine and beautiful women. "My mother used to call me loverboy," he jokes.

And then there's Nancy's Washington hairdresser, Robin Weir. He's 32 and he wears preppy clothes except for a diamond ring and a full-length mink coat. Robin was so excited the first time he went to the White House to do Nancy's hair two years ago that he actually threw up. "I do that when I'm nervous," he explains. Robin managed to stay out of the Battle of the Hairdressers—at least until his friends gave him a bowling shirt decorated with a presidential seal and the words "First Hairdresser." That's just the kind of thing that could drive Julius and Marc absolutely out of their heads!!

Really, there's no reason for jealousy. Nancy gets her hair done enough to keep all three happy. One unusual week, they each did her hair twice. As Robin sensibly says, "If a woman has to have her hair done, she has to have her hair done." None of the three will reveal what she pays, but they love the gifts she gives. She gave Marc a wonderful clock and ajar of jelly beans with the presidential seal. Robin says "it's déclassé" to talk about the baubles he's received from the First Lady. And Julius is also tight-lipped but got to watch a play from the Kennedy Center's presidential box! Unfortunately, he fell asleep in the middle. "Plays bore me," he says.

Despite all these perks, there is still back room undercutting. One insider has heard Julius use the expression "Marc-ed up" to describe his rival's work. And he told a friend that "Marc makes Mrs. Reagan look like a French poodle." Now that's snippy. How about a little dignity here? Marc lightly brushed off that comment. "I," he said gallantly, "am not jealous that another man touches her."

From Our Partners