Paul Huntley, Hair Master of Broadway and Hollywood, Is Dead at 88



For the show “Diana” — a version of which, filmed without an audience during the pandemic, is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on Oct. 1 — he created four wigs for the actress Jeanna de Waal to portray how the style of the Princess of Wales changed over time, from mousy ingenuousness to windswept sophistication.

Paul Huntley was born on July 2, 1933, in Greater London, one of five children of a military man and a homemaker. He was fascinated at an early age by his mother’s movie magazines. After leaving school, he tried to find an apprenticeship in the film industry, but the flooded post-World War II job market had no space for him, so he enrolled at an acting school in London.

He ended up helping with hair design for school productions and in the 1950s, after two years of military service, became an apprentice at Wig Creations, a large London theatrical company. He went on to become the main designer, working with the likes of Vivien Leigh, Marlene Dietrich and Laurence Olivier.

Mr. Huntley helped construct the signature braids worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 movie “Cleopatra.” Ms. Taylor introduced him to the director Mike Nichols, who a decade later enlisted Mr. Huntley to do hair for his Broadway production of “Uncle Vanya” at Circle in the Square. He eventually became the go-to designer for plays and musicals, including “The Real Thing,” “The Heidi Chronicles” and “Crazy for You.”

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Mr. Huntley would return to a show periodically to make sure standards were maintained. He described himself as “the hair police.”

Tony Awards are not given for hair design, but Mr. Huntley was given a special Tony in 2003.

“Everybody says, ‘I want Paul Huntley,’” Emanuel Azenberg, the Broadway producer, once told The Times. “He makes the hair organic to the show. It’s not about him.”

Mr. Huntley approached hair not just as a decorative element but as the expression of an era or of changes in society, and as integral to character development. For “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” he sought to evoke New York City in 1922, his bangs, spit curls and finger waves informed by a post-World War I sense of release.






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