Hamburger Hamlet founder Harry Lewis dies

Football fans at Hamburger Hamlet

Kent Kanouse/Flickr Creative Commons

Football fans at Hamburger Hamlet watching the Colts defeat the Jets for the AFC Championship in Sherman Oaks, Jan. 24, 2010.

LWY/Flickr Creative Commons

A Hamburger Hamlet burger with blue cheese, horseradish, A1 sauce, red onions and garlic fries.


Harry Lewis, founder of the Hamburger Hamlet chain whose regular customers included Ronald Reagan and Elizabeth Taylor, has died. He was 93.

The Los Angeles Times says Lewis died Sunday at a convalescent home in Beverly Hills. His son, Adam, tells the newspaper that his father was compulsively driven by attention to detail and would cook 30 hamburgers at once.

Lewis was an actor who appeared in the 1948 movie "Key Largo" before founding Hamburger Hamlet chain in 1950 with his future wife, Marilyn.

The restaurants were decorated with movie memorabilia and offered customized hamburgers long before the idea became trendy.

At its peak, the chain had 24 restaurants nationwide. Today there are five.

Lewis and his wife, Marilyn, sold the chain for $30 million in the 1980s.

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