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Legendary Barber Dead at 81

Ferrara Spent Nearly 50 Years Cutting Hair at LaFlamme


Charles Ferrara, a Harvard Square hair-cutting legend who coiffed the manes of professors and politicians for nearly half a century at LaFlamme barber shop, died Tuesday in Massachusetts General Hospital. He was 81.

Ferrara, sometimes known as "Carmine," began his hair-cutting career at LaFlamme in 1946, serving the Dunster Street establishment for 48 years until his retirement.

At 98 years old, LaFlamme is the oldest barber shop in Massachusetts, according to records compiled by the state's Board of Barber Registration. Ferrara, of course, has by far the longest record of service at LaFlamme.

"To spend your time in the same place for so many years, you gotta be liked," Ferrara's former colleague, Vasillos Hatzis, said in an interview at LaFlamme yesterday. "People come in here and say, 'He's been cutting my hair since 1960, '61, '65.'"

For his entire term at LaFlamme, Ferrara worked at a lone chair in the far left corner of the store, the so-called "isolation ward."

There, he served a diverse array of clients, including some of the University's biggest names: Arthur Schlesinger, Henry A. Kissinger '50 and Loeb University Professor Emeritus Archibald Cox '34.

An enthusiastic and jovial barber, Ferrara teased even some of his most prominent customers, including Kissinger ("When he took his glasses off, I told him he looked like the actor, James Whitmore," he told The Boston Globe in 1984) and the Aga Khan (who was "just a regular fella").

Ferrara is survived by his wife, five children and 11 grandchildren.

This story was compiled with Associated Press wire dispatches.

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