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Hair today, gone tomorrow

Charles Thompson to hand his wig shop off after 45 years. He is also known for having played Jesus in the Pageant of the Masters.

May 23, 2010|By Jonathan Oyama

Charles Thompson, 65, has decided that he's been working too hard.

The wig maker is retiring after 45 years in his Laguna Beach shop. Thompson said there's other things he wants to do, too.

"I have gotten busier than I've ever been," Thompson said. "I was beginning to think I wasn't going to do anything besides what I do every day. I mean, just my routine is going to work and staying by my hair and doing hairpieces.

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Thompson said he and his partner bought property in a 13-acre gated community in Charma, N.M.

"I want to do some gardening," he said. "I want to play with wood and maybe do a little woodworking, but just total life change is what I was wanting to do."

Thompson — who also gained local stardom as Jesus in the Pageant of the Masters — will hand over his store to Marsha Carroll, a hair stylist and beauty columnist who has been in the industry for several decades. Thompson was relieved that he could find someone who he felt he could turn all his clients over to.

"She is so eager and she's so good with people and she's good with hair," Thompson said. "It was just, like, a total lifting off my shoulders of what to do with my business. She's just so eager to take over what I'm doing."

Thompson, born and raised in Iowa, said he moved to Southern California because he loves the palm trees and the sunny weather. He worked at a Laguna Beach wig shop for a Canadian couple for a year.

When the couple decided to move to Canada, he was given the opportunity to own the shop.

Thompson said his store became popular after newspapers and magazines published articles about his role in the Pageant of the Masters. Thompson played Jesus Christ in the on-stage presentation of Leonardo da Vinci's painting, "The Last Supper."

Thompson said that he always enjoyed helping people who really need his services because of trouble with their hair.

"I think what I enjoyed most about the wig shop is the people that come in who really need me and they're there to see because they know I can take care of their hair problem," Thompson said. "I think that's what it kind of evolved into. The people that come in the door are there because they'd heard about me, or they'd been sent to me and they're there at my mercy, to take care of them.

"I've always liked people and to help people that have been in trouble with their hair, it's really nice to be able to help solve their hair problem."

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