Jay Sebring by Katie...
Birth: October 10, 1933 - Death: August 9, 1969Born Thomas John Kummer in Alabama, and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, Kummer served in the US Navy for four years and was a veteran of the Korean War. While in the Navy, he developed the hairstyling skills that would make him famous. When he arrived in L.A., Thomas changed his name to Jay Sebring - the J for the first initial of his middle name and Sebring from the famous Florida race track. According to some accounts, he was the first person to open a male hair salon in the country, and his cutting edge style of men's hair care attracted big name clients. At Kirk Douglas's request, Jay was the stylist for the movie "Spartacus." In 1960, Jay married a model by the name of Cami. They divorced in 1965. In 1964, Jay took martial arts lessons from master Bruce Lee. Jay took a tape of Bruce to producer William Dozier (of Batman) and Dozier signed Lee to be on the TV show "Green Hornet," which made Bruce a household name. Also in 1964, Jay met actress Sharon Tate at a Hollywood party and they began dating. Upon Jay's divorce, conflicting accounts abound of whether Jay proposed to Sharon, and others that state that Sharon wanted to get married and Jay was hesitant. In early May 1969 Sebring opened a new salon at 629 Commercial Street in San Francisco and a champagne reception followed. Guests included Abigail Folger and her mother, Inez, as well as Paul Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward. Sebring's business enterprises continued to flourish. He also started Sebring International, a company that is still in business today (run by Jay's close friends) which sells men's hair products.
Jay once said: “I took a good look at my friends, both the males and females. The girls looked great- but why shouldn't they since they had all kinds of powders, paints, dyes, sprays and ointments to aid them? But, the poor men- what could they do to better their looks? Buy new clothes or adopt a new hair design!! Well, clothes were no problem- there are plenty of excellent men's wear stores. But, where could a man get a hair style that really flattered him? The answer was- no place. I decided to open a men's hair design shop and change all that."
Though not seeking an acting career, Sebring made a cameo appearance in an episode of the TV show Batman, playing a character based on himself called Mr. Oceanbring. It is rumored that the movie “Shampoo”, starring Warren Beatty, was based on Jay’s being known as “hairdresser to the stars”.
Adjacent to his salon on Fairfax Avenue, West Hollywood, Pat Woolley ran her iconic fashion shop, catering to musicians and movie stars including Mia Farrow.
Despite Jay’s success, he was rumored to be in serious financial trouble toward the end of his life. He was a drug user and reportedly was spending a lot of his money on drugs, and just supporting his fancy Hollywood lifestyle.