Alberto Culver founder, horse breeder Lavin dies at 97

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (AP) Leonard Lavin, who built a small beauty supply firm into the billion-dollar Alberto Culver company and owned a successful horse breeding, training and racing farm, has died. He was 97.

Family spokesman Dan Stone says Lavin died Wednesday evening in suburban Chicago from complications from pneumonia. A family obituary says Lavin created Alberto Culver Co. after borrowing money in 1955 to purchase a beauty supply company that sold Alberto VO5 hairdressing product.

Lavin expanded the company to include other hair care lines and Sally Beauty Supply, which became its own company in 2006. Alberto Culver was sold to Unilever PLC in 2011.

Lavin was born in Chicago in 1919. His Glen Hill Farm in Ocala, Florida, has produced several stakes winners.

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