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Hamburger Hamlet Founder Harry Lewis Dies At 93
A Hollywood restaurant icon has passed: Harry Lewis, the actor who later founded Hamburger Hamlet and Kate Mantilini, died Sunday.The LA Times reports that Lewis died at the convalescent home in Beverly Hills where he had lived for the past two years. He was 93.
While millions have dined at his restaurants, many might not realize that Lewis began his career alongside none other than Humphrey Bogart, playing a bad guy in the 1948 film Key Largo. He also appeared in the film noirs Gun Crazy and The Unsuspected.
Lewis opened the first Hamburger Hamlet in 1950. He and his wife, Marilyn, expanded the Hamburger Hamlet chain to 24 locations before selling it in the late 1980s for around $30 million. Marilyn detailed their colorful relationship in her 2009 memoir, "Marilyn, Are You Sure You Can Cook?"
The famous Hollywood Boulevard Hamburger Hamlet closed years ago: A Hooters is in its place now. The Sunset Strip restaurant bordering Beverly Hills closed in 2011. Locations still exist in Sherman Oaks and Pasadena, according to the chain's official site.
Hamburger Hamlet became known for its comfort food and for being among the first to offer customized burger toppings. Famous regulars in its heyday included Ronald Reagan, Tony Curtis and Sammy Davis Jr.
They Lewises later opened Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills: It was the site of the famous scene in 1995's Heat where Robert De Niro and Al Pacino shared the big screen for the first time.
Their sons took over management of Kate Mantilini in 2009.
Lewis is survived by his wife, Marilyn, as well as sons David and Adam and five grandchildren, according to the Times. Burial arrangements are underway.