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Fatburger Founder Lovie Yancey Has Died

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Inside a Fatburger location in Van Nuys

Lovie Yancey, who launched what eventually became the popular Fatburger chain of burger-and-fries joints, died January 26th of pneumonia here in Los Angeles.

Initially called Mr. Fatburger, the fast-food restaurant first opened in 1947. Hoping to capitalize on the burger trend that was becoming increasingly popular, Yancey dropped the "Mr." in 1952 and by 1981 was offering franchises of what was now known as "The Last Great Hamburger Stand." Fatburger was a favorite of local celebs, and was, as described in Yancey's LA Times obit, "immortalized in a string of songs, movies and TV shows, including the sitcom 'Sanford and Son,' the film 'The Fast and the Furious' and the Ice Cube single 'It Was a Good Day.'"

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Although Yancey long ago sold off the bulk of her burger empire, she remained for many the cornerstone of the successful chain of eateries known for their big burgers and "fat" fries ordered up in an atmosphere of low-key decor and a perpetually-churning jukebox. Yancey was also much respected as a trailblazer for black women entrepreneurs, and was admired in and beyond her community. Lovie Yancey was 96.

Photo by Here In Van Nuys via the LAist Featured Photos Pool on Flickr