Picks and Pans Review: Crowning Glory: Reflections of Hollywood's Favorite Confidant
If, as they say, no man is a hero to his valet, it probably goes without saying that few women are heroines to their hairdressers. Not so, claims Sydney Guilaroff, stylist to the stars. In his chatty, tell-some (but not, he warns, tell-all) memoir of his 40 years as chief hairdresser at MGM, the halos of the screen goddesses whose tresses he tended continue to shine, untarnished by trashy gossip.
While still known as Mr. Sydney, "the Man with the Golden Shears," at Saks Fifth Avenue, Guilaroff was summoned to Hollywood in 1934 after MGM chief Louis B. Mayer got fed up with Joan Crawford's always traveling cross-country for a coif. There, Guilaroff cut and curled them all: Liz and Lana, Ginger and Kate, Marlene and Judy. He created signature looks:—styled Marilyn Monroe's pageboy, transformed Liz Taylor into Cleopatra and Lucille Ball into a redhead—for clients with whom his relations sometimes progressed beyond the tonsorial. Mr. Sydney reveals that he had an affair with Garbo (who stripped topless during their first appointment) and with Ava Gardner.
After four decades of comb-outs, trims and tearful confessions, Guilaroff, 89 and retired in Beverly Hills, clearly likes women—an affection that gives his book the pleasant, slightly soporific effect of a smoothing scalp massage and a warm shampoo. (General Publishing, $19.95)