Since his death in August 1969, celebrity hair stylist
Jay Sebring has largely been remembered as one of the other four people
murdered by the Manson Family alongside Sharon Tate at she and Roman
Polanski’s Cielo Drive home. Now, the makers Jay
Sebring…Cutting to the Truth, a documentary about Sebring’s rapid
rise to fame in 1960s Los Angeles, are hoping to prove that he was much more
than a bit player in a horrific true crime story.
The feature, directed by Sebring’s nephew Anthony
DiMaria, has just been picked up for North American distribution by Shout!
Studios, which plans to start screening it at festivals this spring in
advance of a commercial release later this year, according
to the Hollywood Reporter.
The film features interviews collected over the course
of 12 years with Dennis Hopper, Nancy Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Sharon Tate’s
sister Debra, Vic Damone, Manson prosecutor Stephen Kay, and director
Quentin Tarantino, who cast Emile Hirsch as Sebring in Once
Upon a Time in Hollywood.
“This is an intimate, fascinating portrait of a man
whose legacy is so much more than how he died,” Shout! Studios’ acquisitions
VP Jordan Fields said in a statement. “It’s how he lived that is the main
subject here, and his profound contribution to an entire industry, as well
as to the style of the 1960s, is expertly—and finally—celebrated.”
story is fascinating. Raised in Michigan as Thomas John Kummer, Sebring
served in the Navy during the Korean War before coming to L.A., where he
took his new name from his middle initial and a popular Florida car race,
attended beauty school, and was soon cutting hair for the likes of Steve
McQueen, Frank Sinatra, Warren Beatty, and Paul Newman at his salon on
Using techniques that were unheard of at the time—like
washing a man’s hair before cutting, employing handheld blow driers, and
using hairspray instead of Brylcreem—Sebring could charge $50 a session when
the average men’s cut went for $1.50.
Sebring and Tate dated briefly before she got together
with Roman Polanski, but Manson
murder chronicler Greg King notes that the jet-setting stylist’s
feelings for the young actress never really changed: “Sebring took his
replacement by Roman graciously, but many of his friends knew that he was
still in love with Sharon. When he died, he was still wearing her high