Creator Of The Big Mac, Dies At 98
PITTSBURGH — You probably don't know his name, but you've almost certainly devoured his creation: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.
Michael James "Jim'' Delligatti, the McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it become perhaps the best-known fast-food sandwich in the world, died Monday at home in Pittsburgh. Delligatti, who according to his son ate at least one 540-calorie Big Mac a week for decades, was 98.
Delligatti's franchise was based in Uniontown, not far from Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain's signature burger in 1967 after deciding customers wanted a bigger sandwich. Demand exploded as Delligatti's sandwich spread to the rest of his 47 stores in Pennsylvania and was added to the chain's national menu in 1968.
"He was often asked why he named it the Big Mac, and he said because Big Mc sounded too funny,'' his son Michael Delligatti said.
However, McDonald's in 1985 honoured Esther Glickstein Rose with coming up for a name for the burger and presented her with a plaque etched with a likeness of the bestselling sandwich and french fries between the Golden Arches.
She was a 21-year-old secretary for the company's advertising department in 1967 when, the story goes, a harried executive dashing to a board meeting asked her for a name nomination.
Jim Delligatti's family disputes that Rose came up with the idea. The company didn't immediately clear up the dispute Wednesday.
Delligatti told The Associated Press in 2006 that McDonald's resisted the idea at first because its simple lineup of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and shakes was selling well.
"They figured, why go to something else if (the original menu) was working so well?'' Delligatti said then.
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