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SYFY WIRE obituary

Paul LeBlanc, hairstylist for Princess Leia on Return of the Jedi, dies at 73

By Josh Weiss
Princess Leia Carrie Fisher Return of the Jedi

Paul LeBlanc, the Oscar-winning hairstylist and makeup artist who helped shape the look of Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, has passed away at the age of 73. LeBlanc's death, which took place last Wednesday, was confirmed online by his family. While Leia is best known for her two spiral buns in A New Hope, her long braid and golden bikini look in Jabba's palace is just as iconic.

Born in Dieppe, Normandy in 1946, LeBlanc became a certified hairdresser at 18 years of age, before moving to Canada, where he made wigs. His first role in entertainment was as a hairstylist for the 1974 documentary, The National Dream: Building the Impossible Railway. A decade later, he'd take home an Academy Award for his work on Amadeus, a period piece about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart.

"He's always been my favorite, not just for his amazing artistry, which he demonstrated on me over and over again in many films, but most particularly in Requiem for a Dream in 2000. He's done my hair not only for films, but also for the Oscars, the Tonys, in Paris, in London, in limousines, in all temperatures and under every imaginable condition," wrote Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist, Lucy in the Sky) in the foreword to his 2013 memoir, You Can Get There from Here.

Paul LeBlanc

LeBlanc would later form a professional working relationship with director Darren Aronofsky that lasted across Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, and Black Swan. He also worked on 1996's Jack and 1998's The Mask of Zorro. And while it's not technically genre, we can't leave out the fact that he helped give Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) that distinguished mop of deadly hair in No Country for Old Men. For that particular look, he referenced old prison photographs as well as renderings of the Crusades during the Middle Ages.

"He was a warrior," LeBlanc told Variety in 2008. “And that was a time when there were a lot of people like him that were dangerous and treacherous."

In 2003, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild. 

LeBlanc is survived by wife, Louise LeBlanc; brothers: Georges, Marc (Krista) and Allison (Sharon); sister–in–law, Carol; brother–in–law, Emery; and nieces: Rogette, Kristynn, June, and Lisa. His brother, Roger, and his sister, Angela, had both predeceased him. LeBlanc will be privately buried, and his family asks that any and all donations be made to the Canadian Lung Association.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)