The oldest barber in the world, Anthony Mancinelli of New York, died on September 19 at 108 years old, after 96 years of cutting hair. The upstate resident never retired, and found passion in his work, his son, Robert, told CNN. Mancinelli died from jaw cancer complications.
Mancinelli, who made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2018 for being the oldest practicing barber, immigrated to the United States at 8 years old, according to Guinness World Records.
He soon began sweeping floors at a barbershop, then cutting hair at 12 to help support his family. He attended grade school in Newburgh, but never graduated. There was no one part of cutting hair he’d call his favorite, his son said, but he “just loved his job.”
“Everybody loved him. He’s known worldwide.”
Mancinelli was healthy for most of his life, his son said, until he was diagnosed with cancer in February of this year. About six weeks before his death, Mancinelli didn’t feel well and needed to rest — though he had no plans to quit working.
He was getting tired and weak, his son said, but planned to return to work at some point. When Mancinelli began cutting hair in 1923, he charged 25 cents for his services. Leading up to his death, he worked at Fantastic Cuts in New Windsor, where he charged $19 for a haircut. Jane Dinezza, the owner of Fantastic Cuts, said she is still processing his death. “He’s a legend,” Dinezza said.
“One of the TV stations asked who would work in his chair now. I didn’t think of it then, but could anybody fill that chair? No.” Dinezza said she would like to leave that chair open as a memorial to Mancinelli. Mancinelli’s wife passed away 15 years ago, and his other son died 36 years ago, Robert Mancinelli said.
The barber continued to cut hair for his other relatives. “I got to find a new barber now,” said Robert, who has had his hair cut by his father for all 82 years of his life. CNN reported that aside from his Guinness World record, Mancinelli was inducted into the Barber Museum Hall of Fame in Ohio one week before his death, his son said.