Cover of Bessone's autobiography "Raymond"
Raymondo Pietro Carlo Bessone
11 May 1911
|Died||17 April 1992 (aged 80)|
|Other names||Mr Teasy-Weasy, Teasie Weasie Raymond, Raymond Raymond, Pierre Raymond Bessone|
Early life and career
Bessone was born Raimondo Pietro Carlo Bessone at 61 Wardour Street, Soho, London, England of Italian and French parentage and descent. He subsequently Anglicised his name, and legally changed it by deed poll, to Peter Carlo Bessone Raymond. His name is sometimes, but incorrectly, given as Pierre Raymond Bessone.
Bessone began his career making false beards and moustaches in his father's barber shop. He subsequently opened his own salon in Mayfair, where he trained Vidal Sassoon. Building on his first salon, Bessone developed a chain of highly fashionable salons in the West End. He later opened outlets in several major cities, including Birmingham.
Bessone was the first hairdresser to appear on television, and had his own show at Saturday teatime. Regarded as Britain's first celebrity hairdresser, he cultivated a faux French accent and a camp manner. Bessone liked to pace around his salon and, if a customer approached him, he would then exclaim with exasperation, "Madam, can you not see that I am meditating!" His Knightsbridge salon was replete with gilt mirrors, chandeliers, and champagne fountains.
In 1956 Bessone was flown to the United States by Diana Dors, for a shampoo and set, at a cost of £2,500 (equivalent to £60,000). The stunt caused media controversy since a house could have been bought for the same amount.
In 1957 Bessone launched the Shangri-La style, based on "the four principles of colour, line, youth and softness" and inspired by his view of Swiss mountain peaks after being knocked out in a skiing accident.
Except for girls under 20, Bessone considered that women should avoid having long hair because he considered it ageing. He was also of the opinion that, except for women with very regular features, a central parting should be avoided.
Bessone was the part-owner of 1963 Grand National winner Ayala.
He was also part-owner of 1976 Grand National winner Rag Trade. Although Bessone had bought the gelding himself for 18,000 guineas, at a public auction at Doncaster, he later sold two 25% shares in the horse to businessmen William Lawrie and Herbert Keane. With trainer Arthur Pitt the horse ran the 1975 Grand National, only managing to complete the course. Under trainer Fred Rimell, the following year, the horse won both the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow and the Grand National at Aintree. Bessone had hoped for a third win in 1977.
Bessone was married to the actress Rosalie Ashley and had three daughters.
In 1979 his 28-year-old daughter Amber, who was pregnant, was killed when returning from a family wedding. Her car crossed a damaged section of the M4 motorway crash barrier and hit an oncoming Porsche. The two people in the Porsche, as well as Bessone's daughter, her husband and two children, were all killed instantly. Several weeks after the accident it was discovered that the male passenger killed in the Porsche was Brian Field, one of the organizers of the 1963 Great Train Robbery, who had changed his name to Brian Carleton.
Bessone was also mentioned in the Red Dwarf 1988 episode "Future Echoes".
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