Jay Sebring (October 10,1933 – August 9, 1969) was an American International hair stylist and a victim of the Charles Manson murders.
Jay Sebring was born Thomas John Kummer on October 10, 1933 in Alabama. His parents were accountant Bernard Kummer and wife Margarette. Jay grew up with one brother and two sisters in a middle class family outside of Detroit, Michigan.
After high school Jay joined the Navy and went off to serve in the Korean War. Learning much during the war, cutting hair would be a skill that served him very well in life.
After serving four years in the Navy, Jay moved to Los Angeles where he changed his name to Jay Sebring. Jay, after the first initial of his middle name, and Sebring after the famous Florida car race.
In Los Angeles, Jay's style of cutting hair started the male hair care revolution - he opened the first male hair salon in America and quickly became a celebrity. His clients were big names such as Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen. At Kirk Douglas' request, Jay did the hair styling for the movie Spartacus.
In October 1960 Jay married model Cami - a union which ended unofficially in August of 1963.
Jay took martial arts lessons from Bruce Lee in 1964. Jay then handed a tape of Bruce over to producer William Dosier (Batman), who signed Bruce on to the show Green Hornet - which set off Bruce's career.
In October of 1964, Jay met Sharon Tate at a party at the famous Whiskey-A-Go-Go club. She was at the time an up-and-coming actress. They hit it off and soon were inseperable. Jay soon bought the former home of Jean Harlow on Easton Drive in Benedict Canyon. The house had a dark history, which was the reason Jay bought it. Jean Harlow married MGM producer Paul Bern , then two months later Bern killed himself in the bedroom of the house. Later three more people killed themselves in the house - a maid hung herself, a man drowned in the pool, and another man committed suicide.
Once in 1965 while staying home alone in the house, Sharon Tate, whom later recalled this story to numerous friends and family, was awaken to find a man sitting on the bed. She immediately ran out of the bedroom to the top of the stairs - only to find a man at the bottom with his throat slashed and tied with a rope. In the blink of an eye the image was gone.
In March of 1965, Jay and Cami were officially divorced. He then began to talk seriously about marriage with Sharon, after they had become engaged in late '65. While considering his proposal, Sharon went to London in early 1966, to work on "The Fearless Vampire Killers" with director Roman Polanski. Romance blossomed between Tate and Polanski in the summer of 1966, and Sharon broke the news to Jay over the phone. He insisted that he meet Roman to see if he really deserved Sharon. After the meeting Jay let Sharon go.
Although his personal life was not what he hoped, Jay's business, Sebring International was skyrocketing. He had salons in West Hollywood, New York and London. His Hollywood clientele got him acting roles. He appeared on an episode of Batman playing a character based on himself called Mr. Oceanbring.
In January 1968 Sharon married Roman Polanski in London, while Jay watched. His heart was still with Sharon, although they only could be friends. Sharon, Roman, and Jay were all close and Jay was there to hold their marriage together. That summer the Polanskis introduced Sebring to Roman's friend Wojciech Frykowski, and his girlfriend coffee heiress Abigail Folger, who had recently moved to Los Angeles from New York. Folger later became a friend and invested in Sebring's hair care products for men.
In early May 1969 Jay opened a new salon located at 629 Commercial Street in San Francisco that was followed by a champagne reception. Guests included Abigail Folger and her mother Inez, as well as Paul Newman with his wife Joanne Woodward. Sharon was unable to attend because she was still in Europe at this time. Jay also continued to expand Sebring International, which created his hair care products for men.
On the last day of his life, August 8th, 1969, Jay spent the time with Sharon and their friends, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski. They went to a Mexican restaurant that night, called the El Coyote, and had a meal together. After returning to Cielo Drive, Jay and Sharon were having a pleasant conversation on Sharon's bed when Charles Manson followers Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Charles "Tex" Watson entered the home and killed all the occupants.
Jay Sebring was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan on Wednesday August 13, 1969.
Last updated: 05-07-2005 17:05:46
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04