Comer Cottrell

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Comer Joseph Cottrell Jr. (December 7, 1931 – October 3, 2014) was an American entrepreneur most notable for founding Pro-Line Corp., a business that created the Curly Kit, which brought the Jheri curl hairstyle to the masses and made it easy to achieve at home.

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Mobile, Alabama and died in Plano, Texas at age 82. He briefly attended the University of Detroit and served in the Air Force during the Korean War.


He founded Pro-Line Corp. in 1970.[1] It was originally based in Los Angeles. In 1979, he created the Curly Kit and in 1980, he moved the company to Dallas.[2] Forbes Magazine called the Curly Kit "the biggest single product ever to hit the black cosmetics market." In 2000, he sold the company to Alberto-Culver for $75 million to $80 million.[3] With his brother, James, he turned Pro-Line into one of the most successful black-owned companies in the United States.

In 1990, he purchased the campus of Bishop College and moved Paul Quinn College from Waco, Texas to its campus.

Along with George W. Bush and others, Cottrell was part of the team that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball club. He was the first black person to be an owner or part-owner of a major league team.[4]

He wrote an autobiography: Comer Cottrell: A Story That Will Inspire Future Entrepreneurs.

He helped Ron Kirk get elected as the first African American mayor of Dallas.[5]


  1. ^ Los Angeles Times (8 October 2014). "Comer Cottrell dies at 82; made Jheri curl available to the masses". Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  2. ^ Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY (10 October 2014). "Pro-Line, "Curly Kit" creator Cottrell dies at 82". USA TODAY. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Comer Cottrell, Creator Of The People's Jheri Curl, Dies At 82". 11 October 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  4. ^ Comer Cottrell, Who Got Rich on Hair Curling, Dies at 82, The New York Times, October 11, 2014
  5. ^ "Comer Cottrell: The juice behind the Jheri curl". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 April 2015.