Carrie White, Hair Stylist for the Stars, Dies at 78


When she graduated from Hollywood High in 1961, Carrie White did her hair in a gum pink beehive. In her memoirs, she had learned that “my life would work better if I could fix my hair.”

After attending beauty school, she became famous for straightening other people’s hair. And soon she had the heads of Tinseltown’s superstars—among them Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando—painted, trimmed, and styled.

The media called Mrs. White “the first lady of the hairdresser”. In her chair in her Beverly Hills living room were A-listers as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Nancy Reagan, Sharon Tate, and Lucille Ball; Her work on Elvis Presley has kept fans’ eyes focused on her jet-black pompadour as well as her swirling hips.

In the late 1960s, its hall was a constant party scene.

“Sometimes I cut hair on roller skates, spandex pants with a gram of Coke in my back pocket.” recalled to Los Angeles magazine in 2019. During those difficult times, Miss White was a star, even appearing on an episode of the game show “To Tell the Truth.” United Airlines sought him out to create a hairstyle for flight attendants: He found a trendy bob.

But the party did not last. Ms. White’s life has been shaken down from drug and alcohol addiction, a horrific decline she describes in her memoir “The Upper Cut: Highlights of My Hollywood Life” (2011), which is being made into a movie. Julia Fox.

After several years in the deep, Mrs. White managed to recover and stay there. She was a proud, not-so-anonymous member of Alcoholics Anonymous, even as she continued the hairstyling business with a whole new generation of stars, including Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock. She devoted herself to speaking publicly around the country about addiction and remained sober for the rest of her life—38 more years.

Ms. White died on May 3 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 78 years old. Her family said it was because of cancer, she said.

When Miss White entered the world of hairdressing, it was dominated by men — Vidal Sason, Jon Peters, Gene Shacove and others. Another popular male hairstylist was Richard Alcala, Mrs. White’s third husband, who inspired Warren Beatty’s flamboyant hairdresser in “The Shampoo” (1975). Miss White was the technical consultant on that movie.

In addition to sculpting the stars for their personal lives, Ms. White has sculpted for many films. Notable creations included Louise Fletcher’s iron sheet boy as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and the orange curls of David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976).

“Doing hair gave me validation” He told The New York Times in 2011. “There was applause on the clock and I needed it on the clock.”

Carole Douglas Enwright was born on August 25, 1943 in Los Angeles. His mother, Grace (Cloakey) Enwright, who is a movie illustrator, named him after actress Carole Lombard. Her father, George Enwright, left when she was just a baby.

In her memoirs as a girl, she wrote that she was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend and was raised by a foster mother for a time. In a classic Hollywood reinvention story, she started calling herself Carrie in high school and later legally changed her name to Carrie White after they got married.

grew up in pacoimaA predominantly Black and Hispanic section of Los Angeles, he later moved to Beverly Hills. Most of his classmates at Hollywood High were wealthy and flamboyant. He concluded that the key to success, aside from buying a brand new wardrobe, was to replace what he called the “stacked pachuca hairstyle with spit-curls on both sides” from his Pacoima puberty.

“The Hollywood High hairstyle had a name: Flip,” she wrote. “I used to thin girls’ hair and imagine how they curled underneath. And I needed to cut the bangs, soft bangs that swung to one side, not like my mom’s 1940s movie star bangs.”

After high school, she went to the Hollywood salon of the Lapin Brothers beauty school from 1961 to 1963.

He opened his own salon in the mid-1960s. one of his first customers James Galanos, fashion designer. Recommended Mrs. White to the well-connected actress Jennifer JonesHer ex-husbands included David O. Selznick, producer of Gone with the Wind and other major movies. Celebrities soon filled her hall, making it a place to be seen and seen.

“Some actresses would get their hair done before they came to the salon, it was such a scene,” Ms. White told Los Angeles magazine. He remembered the day Mr. Beatty arrived with Julie Christie in 1968—to the embarrassment of Joan Collins, who he had an affair with and was sitting in rollers under the dryer.

Credit…Chuck White

Ms. White spent most of her nights at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace perfecting her skating and keeping fit by lap. She has collaborated with fashion photographers such as She. Richard Avedon Vogue photo shoots and Melvin Sokolsky On filming for Harper’s Bazaar.

After addiction ruined his life and career, he slowly tried to come back. She regained her hairdressing license, got along with her friends, styled her clients, and opened a salon again in 2005. Writing his memoirs was therapy, but the first draft took 11 years and ran 1,300 pages. She told The Times that the cut was unbearable, “like cutting blue strings on a Chanel suit.”

She closed her salon in 2017 and worked at Farré Salon in Beverly Hills, where she kept a trendy clientele until the coronavirus pandemic forced her to stop.

But even before then, what he saw as a relaxation in Hollywood glamor had disappointed him.

“Everybody seems like everybody else,” he told The Times. “This is tragic.”

Miss White has been married three times. Her short marriage to Jordan Schwartz, a beauty school student, was annulled in 1962. She married Frederick White, a contractor, in 1964; They divorced in 1968. She married Mr. Alcala in 1970; They separated a few years later, but never divorced. She died in 1988.

His friend for the past few years has been Alex Holt, an academic teacher. They recently collaborated on a horror novel called “Disposable Teens” that has not yet been released but was bought for a limited television series.

In addition to Mr. Holt, Mrs. White has a surviving daughter, Tyler Browne, from her first marriage; second son Adam White and daughter Daisy Carlson; and from the third two daughters, Aloma and Pitita Alcala. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson, She.

Aloma and Pitita Alcala said they recently stumbled upon one of their mother’s talks for Alcoholics Anonymous and it seemed so appropriate.

“When I die, I want to be cremated and put in a disco ball and conveyed to song,” said Mrs. White. ‘Last Dance,’ by Donna Summer.”



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