What do you dislike about hairdressers?

He could be very funny, with an infectious cheerfulness that made him a sought-after conversation partner at the Berlinale or at festivals in the capital: on such occasions he dressed up, raised his dark eyebrows and always had a good saying the lips. At that time, when Klaus Wowereit was the governing mayor and Angela Merkel was just moving into the Chancellery, Udo Walz was in the highest esteem. A figure for the boulevard, with the best of ties to Colorful, to the Berliner Revolverbl Blätter and the private broadcasters.

A hairdresser is not primarily a chatterbox, but a practitioner who needs to know how to reliably earn money in this airy business. Udo Walz was also a businessman, undoubtedly. At the age of 14, the son of a professional driver had learned his trade in Stuttgart, with 18 spoiled customers in St. Moritz he had cut his hair and stars like Marlene Dietrich and Romy Schneider had nifty updos. In 1963 he moved to West Berlin and, cut by cut, acquired a very special regular clientele. Walz always had a flair for effective advertising, he did the hairdos for the Otto catalog, and later also the young Claudia Schiffer and Heidi Klum.

Udo Walz then made a real career on the boulevard, more precisely on the Kurfürstendamm sung by Hildegard Knef. With a salon that was very glamorous for the eighties. He fulfilled every wish of his customers; Meetings with Walz were always events, even if the master himself liked to claim that hairdressers should not take themselves too seriously. "Nobody talks to me," was his motto. His employees were allowed to do a lot when they were standing in front of the mirror, but there was absolutely one thing they were not allowed to do: ask the customers embarrassing questions, squeeze them about their job and their private circumstances.

As a thank you, Walz joined the CDU

Angela Merkel is also part of the loyal Walz faction. With visible results: the somewhat sloppy hairstyle of the General Secretary's front that was too short was soon history when Walz gave the Chancellor her look, which is still valid today. You just have to know how to keep your composure. As a thank you for so much PR, Walz promptly joined the CDU.

It has been expanding since the 1990s. Berlin was the rising metropolis, and the "reigning master hairdresser" and his partner Carsten Thamm hardly missed a party. Walz now ran five salons at the same time, three of them in Berlin, one in Potsdam and one on Mallorca, his favorite island. As a supporting actor - of course in the role of Walz - he was seen in television series and documentary soaps. Sometimes even he was a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, and his performances were not always completely stylish. Anyone who advertises diet products, moderates talk shows, writes books and then wants to be present in their own shop may end up taking over something after all. Or is it not? Oh, what - Udo Walz had enough charm and strength to keep the business together despite his many activities.

Udo Walz, who suffered from diabetes, died on Friday at the age of 76. He was more than a hairdresser, he was a brand.