Tuesday, June 9, 2020

"Key Largo" Actor & "Hamburger Hamlet" Restaurateur Harry L. Lewis 2013 Westwood Village Cemetery

Harry L. Lewis (April 1, 1920 – June 9, 2013) was a supporting actor in films and was the founder, along with his wife Marilyn, of the "Hamburger Hamlet" restaurant chain.


Lewis was born in Los Angeles, California, on April 1, 1920.[1] His first film role was as a flagman in Dive Bomber (1941). He was immediately put under contract to Warner Bros., at which he made several films. He appeared in the cast of Winged Victory (1944). 

Harry L. Lewis is perhaps best remembered for his role as Edward "Toots" Bass, one of Edward G. Robinson's henchmen,  in 1948's Key Largo

Other small film roles included appearances as Claude Rains's butler in The Unsuspected (1947), Sheriff Clyde Boston in Gun Crazy (1949), the head of a gang of criminals in Blonde Dynamite (1950), and as a gangster in "The Monkey Mystery" episode of Adventures of Superman on television (1951).[3] 

He also had a minor role as a slave in Cecil B. Demille's epic The Ten Commandments.

In 1950, Lewis and his then girlfriend Marilyn Friedman,[4] invested $3,500 to open the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hilldale Avenue on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The restaurant was successful and grew into a chain of 24 locations. The couple's two children, David and Adam, joined them in the restaurant business. The Lewises took Hamburger Hamlet public in 1969, and sold the company for $29.2 million in 1987. After the sale, the couple opened new independent restaurants in the Los Angeles area. The reason they gave for the name "Hamburger Hamlet" was because they meant for the eatery to be a restaurant where actors could hang out, and that it was every actor's dream to play Hamlet.

In the late 1960s, Marilyn Lewis launched a ready-to-wear line of clothing under the brand name Cardinali, which was sold at prestigious stores including Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman and Bullock's Wilshire. The clothing line lasted just nine years, but was influential in its time (featured in Vogue magazine), and was a favorite of Nancy Reagan, Dyan Cannon, and Marlo Thomas. The Cardinali line was credited for influencing designers such as Marc Jacobs and various gowns worn to the Oscars.[5]

Lewis died on June 9, 2013 at the age of 93.[6] His widow Marilyn died on May 3, 2017.[7]

They are buried together at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.


Year Title Role Notes

1941 Dive Bomber Flag Man Uncredited
1941 International Squadron Pilot Uncredited
1941 One Foot in Heaven Young Soldier in Hospital Uncredited
1941 They Died with Their Boots On Youth Uncredited
1941 The Body Disappears Elevator Operator Uncredited
1941 You're in the Army Now Recruit Uncredited
1942 Captains of the Clouds Mr. Burton - RCAF Applicant Uncredited
1942 Always in My Heart Steve
1942 Secret Enemies Radio Operator Uncredited
1942 Busses Roar Danny
1942 Desperate Journey Evans Uncredited
1943 The Hard Way Serious Young Man Uncredited
1943 Air Force Minor Role Uncredited
1944 The Last Ride Harry Bronson
1944 Winged Victory Cadet Peter Clark
1946 Her Kind of Man Candy
1947 The Unsuspected Max
1947 Always Together Reporter Uncredited
1948 Winter Meeting Juvenile Uncredited
1948 Wallflower Arthur Uncredited
1948 Key Largo Edward 'Toots' Bass
1948 Adventures of Don Juan Innkeeper's Son Uncredited
1948 The Decision of Christopher Blake Juvenile in Play Uncredited
1948 Whiplash Press Man Uncredited
1949 Joe Palooka in the Counterpunch Chick Bennett
1949 Bomba on Panther Island Robert Maitland
1950 Gun Crazy Deputy Clyde Boston
1950 Blonde Dynamite Champ Fallon
1950 My Friend Irma Goes West Trooper Uncredited
1950 Southside 1-1000 FBI Agent Uncredited
1951 The Fat Man Happy Stevens
1953 Run for the Hills Mr. Carewe
1953 Vice Squad Arresting Detective Uncredited
1956 The Harder They Fall New York Ring Announcer Uncredited
1956 The Ten Commandments Slave Uncredited
1956 Accused of Murder Bartender Uncredited
1956 The Man Is Armed Cole
1959 I Mobster Gangster Uncredited
1969 Pendulum Brooks Elliot
1978 Invisible Strangler Stage Manager  


1. "California births at Family Tree Legends". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
2. Crowther, Bosley (July 17, 1948). "Key Largo: Movie Review". New York Times. 
3. Harry Lewis on IMDb
4. Lynch, Rene (June 10, 2013). "Harry Lewis dies at 93; launched Hamburger Hamlet chain". Los Angeles Times.
5. Apodaca, Rose (March 18, 2007). "The Cardinali Touch". The Los Angeles Times.
6. Lynch, Rene (June 10, 2013). "Actor and Hamburger Hamlet founder Harry Lewis dies at 93". The Los Angeles Times. 
7. Seitz, John L. (May 5, 2017). "Marilyn Lewis Of Hamburger Hamlet, Cardinali Fame Died Wednesday" (PDF). The Beverly Hills Courier. 


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