“I don’t let anyone else touch my hair,” said Mr. O’Rourke, 56, of Cornwall, New York. “The guy’s been cutting hair for a century”, he told the New York Times.
Anthony Mancinelli is 107 years old, and is the world’s oldest barber. He works full time, cutting hair five days a week from 12 pm to 8 pm. He started out when he was 11 years old and has not stopped since.
Anthony was born in 1911 near Naples, Italy, and eight years later sailed to the United States with his family, arriving in New York in 1919. Because an aunt lived there, the Mancinellis settled in Newburgh, New York, just eight miles from New Windsor, where Anthony currently resides.
In 2007, when Anthony was 96 years old, Guinness World Records recognized him as the oldest working barber. Since then, every year, all kinds of congratulations have been in order – from local civic groups, elected officials and barbering companies, etc.
“People come in and they flip out when they find out how old he is,” said the shop’s owner, Jane Dinezza. “He never calls in sick,” she said. “I have young people with knee and back problems, but he just keeps going. He can do more haircuts than a 20-year-old kid. They’re sitting there looking at their phones, texting or whatever, and he’s working.”
Whenever people ask Anthony about his secret of staying fit and active at such an old age (which is countless times), he only says that he has never smoked or drank heavily. He has all his teeth intact and does not have any medication that he is on. He has never needed glasses, and his hands are still steady for cutting and styling hair.
“I only go to the doctor because people tell me to, but even he can’t understand it,” he said. “I tell him I have no aches, no pains, no nothing. Nothing hurts me.”
When asked about why he continues to work, Anthony mentioned that it helps him stay active and busy after his wife died at the age of 70, 14 years ago.
Ms. Dinezza shared some more and said, “he shops for himself, does his own laundry, pays his own bills — it’s crazy. He’s just in the right state of mind. You hear about all these people asking, ‘What medicine can I take, what food can I eat, what anti-aging cream should I use?’” she said, “and he’s doing it with none of those things.”
Anthony has also been able to beautifully keep up with the changing trends in hairstyling. “I cut them all,’’ he said, “long hair, short hair, whatever was in style — the shag, the Buster Brown, straight bangs, permanents”, he says.
“I have some customers, I cut their father, grandfather and great-grandfather — four generations,” said Anthony, who himself has six great-great-grandchildren.
His son, Bob Mancinelli, said, “Some of his older customers, he helps them in the chair. He’ll say to an 80-year-old guy, ‘Listen, when you get to be my age. …’ They love hearing that.”
When asked about his retirement, Anthony has a simple response – “Why would I?”