Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sydney Guilaroff: MGM's Original Hairstylist!

Sydney Guilaroff - the famed hair stylist whose art graced numerous leading ladies and men in Hollywood. Sydney is the very first to have his craft mentioned in movie credits. His work in the motion pictures was with MGM Studios which started in the 1930's and ended in the 1970's, what an impressive career!

Sydney's road from Canada to New York City:

Sydney's family resided in both Winnipeg and Montreal, Canada. He knew that dreams were going to take happen for him by moving and relocating to New York City. At the tender age of fourteen Sydney moved by himself from Canada to NYC where at the beginning was rough. The young man
found the transition to NYC with no one he knew difficult at first and needed to find work which he did locate by doing stockroom work at the famous Gimbel's department store. During this period he had inconsistency with money and work where sleeping on park benches in Central Park happened.

Finally, Sydney landed an opportunity at a hair salon where he became the beautician's assistant. He started to take note of the work the hairstylist was doing and fell in love with the work and before he knew it was being mentored. During this time Sydney's wings bloomed to take flight where people took notice of his fine work and his clientele started to expand. The famed actress Louise Brooks got her famous bob from Sydney and also to note Miriam Hopkins and Corrine Griffith both legendary actresses were his clients. Sydney was making quite a name for himself in New York City!

Sydney Moves to Hollywood and Reigns Supreme at MGM!:

During his time at the famed Antoine's Salon in New York City, Sydney obtained another new client the famed Hollywood actress Joan Crawford. Joan Crawford loved Sydney's work so much that she constantly traveled from California to NYC for hair styling. MGM head Louis B. Mayer took Sydney as part of the studios staff as Chief Hairdresser since Joan insisted that prior to all productions she
was to travel to NYC and have no one else work on her hair.

Sydney did not see eye to eye with Louis B. Mayer and the contracts needless to say did not work. Rather than a contract, Sydney worked at the studio and no other doing what he did best which is the fine art of the leading ladies and men. During his time at MGM he provided his art to over two thousand motion pictures creating such dynamic work of art such as the beautiful ornate styles that Norma Shearer had in the film; "Marie Antoinette" to the huge all women cast of "The Women" starring Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Fontaine. 

His huge mark that people will remember additionally is coming up with the red hair for the then blonde Lucille Ball. This idea of coloring Lucy's hair made a huge difference and her career simply went up with one of her trademarks, that bright red hair! Another is coming-up with the pig tails for
Judy Garland and her noteworthy role in "The Wizard of OZ" then creating Claudette Colbert's famous bangs. Other noteworthy leading ladies he styled for both the studio and personally were Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, and Marlene Dietrich.

Sydney continued to style the famed after his work with MGM in Television movies such as; "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles in 1987 for stars Ann-Margret and Claudette Colbert amongst other projects.

In 1996, Sydney released his own autobiography entitled; Crowning Glories and in 1997 passed away at the age of 89.

Sydney was and still to this day one huge inspiration as to the classic film era and the art to it which will never be matched.

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