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Barber Anthony Mancinelli, Who Cut Hair For 96 Years, Dies At 108

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Experience counts, and Fantastic Cuts sure got plenty of it when they hired Anthony Mancinelli in 2014.

ANTHONY MANCINELLI: I started when I was 11 years old. I was a full-fledged barber at 12.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And he kept cutting hair for 96 years. Mancinelli died earlier this month. He was 108.

MANCINELLI: When I started cutting hair, haircuts and shaves were a quarter. That's where they got that saying - haircut, shave - two bits - 15 cents for a haircut, 10 cents for a shave.

JANE DINEZZA: Anthony loved to work. His work was amazing. He was amazing. He was full of love and service.

KELLY: That is Jane Dinezza, his most recent employer at her salon in New Windsor, N.Y. She says when she hired him five years ago - if you're keeping track, you'll know that was age 103 - that he insisted on working full-time.

DINEZZA: In the past month, I felt led to cut his hours to part-time, and he was not happy.

KELLY: Guinness World Records cited Mancinelli as the oldest practicing barber. He was born in Italy in 1911. He emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 8.

CORNISH: Mancinelli said he didn't smoke or drink aside from a whiskey sour at the American Legion now and again. He said that his longevity amazed his neighbors.

MANCINELLI: When I go shopping sometimes, a couple women always following me, say they want to watch what I'm buying. I must be eating something different. I tell them, oh, I eat everything. It's nothing special. I have no secrets. I wish I did have secrets. God has given me a long life. I don't know why - must be a reason.

KELLY: All right. In case you're wondering who cut his hair, Mancinelli allowed a co-worker at Fantastic Cuts hair salon to do the honors.

DINEZZA: But before he came to us, he said that he cut his own hair for 40 years. And he wouldn't let anybody touch his hair because he had bad experiences.

CORNISH: Barber Anthony Mancinelli died Sept. 19 at age 108. Thanks to reporter Brett Barry and WAMC Northeast Public Radio for their help with this story. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.