Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who killed J.R.? Another fast food giant dead!

Five months. Six deaths.

Tell us we’re “conspiracy nuts” now. After a strange “coincidental” trio of fast food chain founder's deaths in the first three months of 2008, we began to keep close tabs on the mortality rate in the controversial industry, only to be shocked by the sudden passings of one of its legends and another pioneer.

That would be five deaths in the first five calendar months of 2008:

Carl Carcher, founder of Carl’s Jr. (January 11);
Lovie Yancie, founder of Fatburger (January 23);
Al Copeland, founder of Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken (March 23);
Herb Peterson, inventor of the Egg McMuffin (March 25);
Irvine "Irv" Robbins, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins (May 5).

Today, we add another to the list.

J.R. Simplot, the billionaire king of the frozen French fried potato, supplier of fries to McDonald’s and other fast food chains-- the man whose product literally greased the skids for the rise of the fast food industry-- died on Sunday, May 25th.

The LA Times notes:

“Simplot's sale of frozen fries to McDonald's and other chains accelerated the growth of the fast-food industry and changed the nation's eating habits, according to Eric Schlosser, author of ‘Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal’ (2001).

"’Americans have long consumed more potatoes than any other food except dairy products and wheat flour,’ said Schlosser, who called Simplot ‘America's great potato baron.’”

Simplot drove around Idaho in a Lincoln Continental with the license plate “Mr. Spud.”

The coroner says he died of “natural causes.”

He was 99.


Austin Chu said...

Interesting post. Sounds like the fast food industry was such a huge hit, when all those guys started it. Not to say they're evil, but they seemed to have changed the way we eat things, and how we eat them. I'm sure when they first started, they didn't have magic hamburgers and microwaves, but I wonder if they knew what they started, a Fast Food Nation.

Gawker said...

French Fries Added To List Of Health Foods Yet another fast food mogul has died at a ripe old age: J.R. Simplot, a frozen french fry billionaire who supplied McDonald's and others, passed away of natural causes at the age of 99. Ice cream, french fries, burgers, and fried chicken: the key to long life.

Anonymous said...

Will the funeral be done on a shoestring budget?

Will he be buried fresh or frozen?