Showing posts with label Jay Sebring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jay Sebring. Show all posts

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Who was Jay Sebring? A-list hair dresser with Michigan ties was more than a Manson victim

Thomas John Kummer was a free-spirited dreamer. 

At St. Benedict School in Highland Park, a staff member once told his mother: "He just sits in class and stares out the window and smiles." 

Later, as a young man, he became known as a pioneering hair designer, with a client list that included stars like Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and the members of the Rat Pack. 

Kummer — better known as Jay Sebring — become even more famous in death. 

He and four other people were killed in August 1969 in a house in California by followers of Charles Manson.

Manson died of natural causes Sunday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

But Sebring's relatives say they want people to remember how he lived, not the way he died at the age of 35.

"What he did is he took everything out of a barbershop and made it OK for men to go to a beauty shop," said Sebring's nephew, actor Anthony DiMaria. "Essentially, women’s hair styling has existed since pre-Cleopatra, where men only had barbers. Jay literally created men’s hair design." 

Sebring, the oldest of four kids, was born in Fairfield, Ala. His parents moved when he was a baby to a home on Ferris Street in Highland Park, just down the street from St. Benedict. Sebring went to school there through eighth grade. Later, the family lived in a house in Detroit. 

DiMaria said as a child and teenager, his uncle was always drawing and painting. His favorite subjects included cars, pinup women and Hollywood celebrities. 

"He did a sketch when he was a teenager of what his closet would look like when he bought his own house, with the shoes lined up," DiMaria added.  "He spent much of his childhood planning his future." 

Sebring was smart but didn't apply himself in school. He had trouble at University of Detroit High School and then went to Catholic Central. At 17, he enlisted in the Navy. 

Sebring hated the uniformity and look of military-issue buzz haircuts. So he figured out a way to trim his own hair so it looked better but would still fit within regulations. Soon, he was cutting his Navy buddies' hair, with a knack for providing custom styles that played up people's assets.

"I just think that he was very passionate (about) getting the hair to frame the face. ... He always said hair should bring attention to the man’s eyes," DiMaria said.    

After four years in the service, Sebring came back to Detroit for about a year, working downtown in Grinnell's music store. He loved jazz.

Then, it was off to California to follow his dream of working with hair. He attended cosmetology school and started styling women's hair. But his passion was for men's styling. With money from his family, he opened a small shop on Fairfax in L.A.

It was rough in the beginning. He slept on the floor of the shop and had to repeatedly ask his family for money to keep him afloat. That was until an actress he was dating, Barbara Luna, brought in one of her famous friends to see him: singer Vic Damone.

Damone was so pleased with his haircut that he gave Sebring a $100 bill — and told his famous friends about him. 

Sebring changed his name from Thomas Kummer to Jay Sebring at the urging of Luna, who thought he needed something more glamorous-sounding. "Jay" came from a childhood nickname and "Sebring" after the name of a racetrack in Florida. 

When Sebring was starting out, men only had one option for a haircut — the barbershop. But Sebring evaluated each man's hair, scalp and facial features, and gave him a personalized cut. For instance, he knew how leaving a hairstyle full in the back could help downplay a man's big nose when someone looked at his profile.  

"Pre-Sebring, men went to barbershops. There were only 12 cuts you could pick: flat top, part on the right, part on the left ..." and men used a lot of oil and grease in their hair, DiMaria said. 

Sebring would say: "Oil is for machinery."

Soon, all the A-list celebrities were seeing Sebring. He cut the hair of Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando and Milton Berle, to name a few. He styled the Rat Pack. He also gave Jim Morrison of the Doors his shaggy hairstyle.   

DiMaria said his uncle was also famous for creating a men's hair care product line. 

"This is a guy who was a groundbreaker, an image-maker," DiMaria said. 

Manson and members of his “family” of followers were convicted of killing Sebring, actress Sharon Tate and five other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area in August 1969. Prosecutors said Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war he dubbed “Helter Skelter,” taken from the Beatles song of the same name.

Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was pregnant when she was killed at her hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Also shot to death the same night: Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress, and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate’s caretaker. 

The next night, Manson rode with his followers to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three members to kill the couple.

Sebring is buried in Southfield's Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Some of his family is still in Michigan.

DiMaria, who lives in L.A. and Las Vegas, was 3 when his uncle was killed. For two decades, he has attended the parole hearings for the people involved in his death, speaking out about why they should remain behind bars.

DiMaria is in the midst of making a documentary about his uncle. He has reviewed crime scene evidence, court testimony and old newspaper articles. One notable thing he learned, he said, is that his uncle died putting up a fight, contrary to some popular misconceptions. 

DiMaria said he's frustrated with how the crimes have become sensationalized in pop culture. He said when he thinks of what happened, he focuses not on the actual act but on the victims — who they were, what they had accomplished and where they were going in life. 

"People pay so much attention to the killers and murders that they forget the victims," he said. "That human dimension is lost."

Five decades later, Sebring's influence can still be seen today. 

"If you were to look at any free-flowing haircut, if you look at a different haircut, where someone expresses themselves," DiMaria said, "that’s a direct manifestation of Jay."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This just in from Venus!!

Anthony DiMaria will be featured on 20/20 on March 17, 2017, to discuss his up and coming documentary on his Uncle, Jay Sebring.  
The episode will also feature Debra Tate and others involved in the case.

I will bring you updates as Venus provides them!

Thanks Venus!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We all know, or most of us know, that Jay Sebring was a genius at his craft!  Here is one piece of proof, in my opinion.

Jay helped create Jim Morrison into a "Rock God".  

A lot of people in Hollywood were scared to death because of the Cielo Drive murders.  Some say it was because of drugs, I say it was because everyone was taken aback because NO ONE KNEW who was involved in these murders.  Everyone was scared to death.  

And what did Jim's death have to do with Jay's?  We're not sure, but we're checking on it.  It may have nothing to do with anything, but on the other hand, it might have everything to do with anything or nothing or maybe something.

Venus sent me a picture of Sharon & Jay in the Shelby Mustang.  Picture courtesy of

Thanks Venus!!!

This picture is courtesy of

Another pic from Venus of Sharon from that same day...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

This just in from Venus....Jay Sebring on To Tell The Truth in 1963!!

Thanks Venus!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Jay Sebring

Venus reminded me that today is Jay Sebring's birthday!  He would have been 83 years old today, assuming he lived that long if his life hadn't been cut short by mindless psychos.

He might have had children and grandchildren.  Who knows?

Anyway, Happy Birthday Jay!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Barbara writes...

Hi , I hope you're well :). My name is Barbara Gonzalez and I'm a 21 year old, Venezuelan girl. I really have a deep love for Jay Sebring and Sharon Tate .

I have an account on instagram about Jay. The name of my page is Jay_sebring_love. Every day I upload some photos, articles and interesting quotes about Jay. My intention in creating that account, is to maintain the legacy of Jay's life, and let the world know how wonderful he was. If you want to, follow me on instagram please. :)

This is the link

Can you please put this information on your blog in Honor of Jay please?? 

Many thanks before hand 😊

Kind Regards, Barbara

Monday, June 20, 2016

Venus sent me this link.  Thanks Venus!


 A Tale of Two Jays: Sebring, Gatsby & the American Nightmare

F. Scott

Tom Krummer A.K.A. Jay Sebring

"The truth was that Jay Gatsby… sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

If we can hang out in English Lit 101 for a second—and why not—Jay Sebring (1933 – 1969) could only have happened in America. He was a stock character, right from the Smith-Corona of F. Scott Fitzgerald (his good friends just called him ‘F’), the man whose mind has left us with The Jazz Age, and its greatest poster boy, Jay Gatsby.

The U.S.A. No other country celebrates self-propagation, creativity and perseverance with such splendiferous rewards. And no other country is so agile at commercializing extreme violence. It’s a strange brew causing Messrs. Jekyll and Hyde to seamlessly mind-meld.

Like fictional Gatsby (born ‘James Gatz’ on a farm in North Dakota) with whom he shares an unsettling number of traits, Jay Sebring surely invented himself under the Beach Boy sun of optimism and good vibrations.

First he was Thomas J. Krummer, an Alabama-born Korean War vet. During his service in the Navy, he was found to possess tonsorial acumen.

After four years of buzz cuts, he split for L.A., epicenter of reinvention. It was there that the middle initial ‘J’ of his name became the hip ‘Jay’ and the bummer ‘Krummer’ was replaced by the name of a swingin’ Florida raceway (

In Los Angeles, he was a big hit as a ‘hairstylist for men’, cropping the mops of such celebs as Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Kirk Douglas, and Jim Morrison. In fact, Sebring virtually invented ‘the casual look’, a much-touted fashion of the mid-to-late 60s swingers.

Jay Gatsby was a successful bootlegger and became know for his fabulous, debauched parties. In fact, his parties we so dancing-naked-in-the-fountain-debauched that even today one feels a heavy heart that such gigs have followed the Dodo.

Sebring met the actress Sharon Tate at the Whisky a Go Go in October 1964. He was nothing if not a man of action, and within a year had dumped his wife, got a divorce, and became engaged to the beautiful Tate.

Tate and Sebring: Just before the end
Tate & Sebring: Just before the end

Then Tate went to London to shoot Roman Polanski’s film ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’. It didn’t take long for her to take up with Polanski. Sebring was wonderfully cordial about the whole thing—jealousy is for losers—and made a fast new friend in Polanski.

An aggressive entrepreneur, business boomed for Sebring, establishing salons in West Hollywood, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas. He also nabbed acting roles, including a cameo in a ‘Batman’ where he played the part of Mr. Oceanbring, a character based on himself. The hair care business is still going to this day: checkout Sebring International and watch a video of Jay explaining his theory of the Big Snip.

On August 8, 1969, Sebring was slaughtered in Polanski’s home, along with Tate and two others, by friends of Charles Manson. Jay was thirty-five.

“[Sebring] was short, about five feet six, and was lying on his right side, his hands bunched up near his head as if still warding off blows. His clothing--blue shirt, white pants with black vertical stripes, wide modish belt, black boots--was blood-drenched.”

- Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi

Gatsby was shot in his pool, a willing victim of mistaken identity. Ostensibly, he took a bullet for the woman he loved—but wise guys know that the Gatz saw his jig was up, and with exploding hubris, made the best of it.

So take from the Tale of the Two Jays what you will. Much has been written about the American Dream/Nightmare—a troubled vision that alternately has to do with freedom, wealth, sex, death, or combinations hereof. Certainly Sebring’s story shows us the fragility of success—the terrible randomness of wealth and life. Gatsby’s demise (like today’s sub-prime maestros) warns us that what we term ‘the moneyed class’ is in a constant death struggle with Darwin: you can’t always buy your way out of extinction.

Conclusion? The 1920s was a lot like the 1960s, but without acid, guitars, and possibly Peter Fonda.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Venus sent me this link:

This is an excerpt from a newspaper article that came out on August 9, 1964, in the Kingsport Times-News.  It talks about Jay's amazing skills at "creating a new look" for Dennis Weaver.  Jay had extraordinary skills as a hair sculptor...

...TUESDAY 'Moment Without Armor" is Actor Gets $50 Hairdo, Loses Limp For Series HOLLYWOOD -- The remaking of Dennis Weaver rivals anything Prof. Higgins ever did in "Pygmalion" to turn Eliza Doolittle into a lady. Leaving "Gunsmoke" and his Chester limp behind him was easy. But to become Kenneth Yarborough Jones in his new "Kentucky Jones" comedy series, Dennis has undergone major surgery. The Prof. Higgins in Dennis' transformation is executive producer Buzz Kulik. Whenever he hears Dennis slipping even slightly into his Chester twang, Kulik yells, "You're doing it!" In his new role Dennis is a country gentleman-type, a former horse-trainer and presently a veterinarian with his own 40-acre horse ranch. "Chester was an ignoramus, but Jones is bright and has some sophistication. He also is articulate," Buzz explains. "If there's even a trace of Chester in Jones, we've failed our job." 

The first thing Prof. Kulik did was take Dennis to a barber-not just any barber. An appointment was made with Jay Sebring for a "consultation." Sebring is Frank Sinatra's barber. It's said, in fact, that one of the phones in Sinatra's car is a direct line to Sebring's shop. The only house-call Sebring will make is to Marlon 1 Brando. Dennis was placed in Sebring's barber chair where the master studied him for 10 minutes. The session cost 30 bucks. "He gave us his ideas, then set up another appointment for the $20 cutting," Kulik says. "I couldn't go with Dennis the second time, but when he came back I fell through the floor. "The Sebring haircut had changed the whole structure of Dennis' face. I hardly recognized him, believe me."...

Picture courtesy of

Thanks Venus!!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sharmagne Leland-St. John, Jay Sebring, Roman, and Elizabeth Folger

Normally, this is something I would never do, share a Facebook post unless it was Public. 

However, realizing that over 2,000 people are friends with this person (whom I won't name here), I figured it's not really private anymore, and Sharmagne is also quite public.

Here is the post:

I love this part:  
"Bugliosi withheld so much info on the murders, but I never understood why."

Personally, I've never heard of Sharmagne Leland-St. John until I read the above post.  She says she was Jay Sebring's girlfriend.   I'll admit I don't know much at all about Jay's private life during that time, maybe someone that does can chime in...

She has a public Facebook page, a Wiki page, and an IMdB page.  Sharmagne is quite accomplished as a poet and actress.  Her parents were actors.  She was married to Richard Sylbert, the Oscar-winning production designer.

I checked the Tate/LaBianca police reports and she is not listed as a suspect, although she clearly admits she was, along with Charles Tacot and others.

It's also the first I've read that Roman had plans of switching houses with Michael Butler.

(From Wiki) 

"Michael Butler is an American theatrical producer best known for bringing the rock musical Hair from Public Theater to Broadway in 1968.  During his time as Hair producer he was dubbed by the press as "the Hippie Millionaire."

"My future nephew was married to Gibby's younger sister."  In researching Elizabeth Folger, I could only find that Elizabeth was married to Robert Eldred.  Not sure if Robert was her future nephew, but thought I would throw all this out there as most here are always interested in the Folgers.

Here is Elizabeth in 2010:

Robert Eldred is a Financial Planner in the Bay Area.

And once again we hear the story that the Manson girls were swimming in the Cielo pool a day before the murders.

I faintly remember reading something long ago about the cast from Hair being questioned,  (also thrown out of Mexico at that time) but I don't recall the specifics...unfortunately...

Anyway, I'm glad to see some of the folks that were actually there starting to speak up, maybe with all these little tid-bits we'll be able to connect more dots!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Will the Real Jay Sebring please stand up?

I  recently e-mailed Venus & Carol ( the 2 who know more about Jay Sebring than most anyone in the TLB group) about the Jay Sebring documentary, and Venus replied and let me know that she heard about the progress of the documentary "directly from Anthony DiMaria!!!"  Thanks Venus!!!

Here is what Anthony said:

"As it stands the Jay Sebring doc is in post production as a 100 minute solid rough cut. Some film processing still yet to be done from original 16mm footage, licensing/permission, music and final polishing. I will have something to present to distributors 3-6 months. 

The completion of this project has taken so long for several reasons.... We have been working on our own time and on limited resources, and acquiring all resources regarding Jay's life, death and legacy has been extensive and required the necessary amount of time.

Interviewees include Robert Wagner, Nancy Sinatra, Dennis Hopper, Paul Anka, Vic Damone, Andy Williams, Quincy Jones, Vidal Sassoon, Fred Segal, Stuart Whitman, Joe Torrenueva, Charles Champlin, David Milch, Barbara Luna, Amos Russell, Debra Tate, Sheilah Wells, Max Baer Jr., LA DAs Stephen Kay and Patrick Sequeira, Dr. Michael Baden and members of Jay's family and several others."

Author's Note:  Thanks so much Venus for your research and valuable input on this thread!  And thanks Anthony for your update on the documentary!  I think that people focus too much on certain things about Jay Sebring that, if he had not been savagely killed by a knuckle-dragging cretin, would never have surfaced.

My impression of Jay is that he was a shy, serious minded, soft spoken man who loved adventure and had the heart of a Lion when it came to the things he loved.  He loved his craft with his whole heart.  He loved making people happy by sculpting them into what they wanted to be.  I think he probably loved that craft more than most anything.  He had a gift!

And he seemed to love Sharon Tate.  He  breathed his last breath trying to protect her.

I will just say that when the news came on the TV on August 9th, 1969, about the vicious murders in Benedict Canyon, that the only reason my ears perked up was because they said that Jay Sebring was one of the victims.  I had never heard of any of the other victims, including Sharon Tate.  Nothing against the other victims, but I was only interested in this case initially because of Jay Sebring.

The Sebring haircut was not only a domestic success, but was bordering on international success.  That haircut was very popular where I lived, and I can remember the boys talking about the new look that he designed.

Jay liked having fun.  Whether it was in a race car, doing a segment on Batman, or just doing a documentary on how to cut hair, he liked having fun.  He liked instructing, he liked learning, and he liked his life. His product line was going international.  He was going to open a salon in San Francisco.  He had everything going for him.

Jay was a slight man, but a good looking man.  He was stylish and mod in his appearance.  But does anyone realize how highly regarded he was in Hollywood in 1969?  He was well acquainted with "movie stars" at the time, having their trust in cutting their tresses and giving each one a distinctive look.

Jay was partially responsible for getting Bruce Lee a job on The Green Hornet. 

Jay Sebring did have certain faults (who doesn't???)  but I hope everyone remembers Jay as a good-hearted, good looking, classy guy, who had a heart of gold!  I think that we can perhaps finally remember him by his last act in life, that he would give his life for a fellow human being.  And what more can you ask of someone?

I look forward to the Sebring documentary!  Thanks Venus, thanks Carol and thanks Anthony!!!