Another Fallen Hero

It’s been said that celebrities always seem to die in 3’s.

So what in God’s name was the deal with last year?!?!?

2009 saw the untimely passing of an assload of celebs, from A grader’s like M.J to the…uhh… not-so A grade variety (cough… Billy Mays… cough). We lost politicians, actors, musicians, models, directors, writers… and yes, even an Oxi-Clean salesman.

With that in mind, lets take a moment:

Losing anybody that has had some kind of influence upon your life is always difficult. That being said, no, the death of Dom DeLuise isn’t the same as losing a father, a grandmother, or a sister. And I highly doubt anyone reading this particular post knew any of these now departed’s famous faces personally. But in a celebrity-obsessed culture, they can quite easily become as recognizable and important to us as those individuals we see on a daily basis.

So can I get back to the funny now? Please?

Because there’s 1 man that has slipped through our net, a man who may never have achieved the celebrity status of a Farrah Fawcett, but still managed to touch all of our lives at some point in time. Whose profound life’s work will live on for decades, perhaps centuries.

He passed away on December 22nd (perhaps not prematurely; he was 81 after all), from the most recent of a series of strokes.

His name was Al Bernardin. But in a kind and just world you’d already know him… as the creator of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Bernardin attended Hamburger University, McDonald’s training center (yes, it’s actually called that), quickly ascending to the rank of Dean in the early 1960’s. He eventually became VP of product development, playing a huge role in the introduction of the fish sandwich (or ‘Fillet o’ Fish’ to us Australian’s), Apple and Cherry Pies and Frozen French Fries.

But it was in 1971 that Bernardin’s finest moment arrived… the birth of the Quarter Pounder.

First there was Fire. Then the Wheel. Then came Penicillin. And finally... the Quarter F'n Pounder.

“I felt there was a void in our menu vis-a-vis the adult who wanted a higher ratio of meat to bun,” he said in 1991 while commemorating the burger’s 20th anniversary.

Bernardin was also a noted philanthropist who spent much of his last 15 years working tirelessly for local hospices in his home town of Monterey.

That’s not to say the man was perfect. He invented the not so successful Lite Mac (like a Big Mac, but less so) and the McGobbler (ground turkey burgers, get your mind out of the gutter people!). So, we learn that inspiration can be patchy.

However, his contribution to the diets of children and fat dudes everywhere cannot be under-valued or underestimated.

Mr. Bernardin, for many a hangover-thwarting feast…

… for keeping the cheeseburger in it’s place…

… for enriching Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue…

… and for the following sexy, sexy Chinese commercial…

We thank you.

Until next we meet, may you move on to a better place where one day we can skip, hand-in-hand, through fields of crunchy, golden fries with the Grimace.



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