Obits in Brief: Glen Bell & David Gerber

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The Independent Online

Glen Bell

Glen W. Bell Jr, who died on 17 January aged 86, was an entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Taco Bell chain.

Bell launched his first restaurant, Bell's Drive-In, in 1948 in San Bernardino after seeing the success of McDonald's Bar-B-Que, the predecessor of McDonald's, which was founded in the same city in 1940. Like McDonald's, Bell's restaurant tried to take advantage of Southern California's car culture by serving hamburgers and hot dogs through drive-in windows.

The Second World War veteran next helped establish Taco Tias in Los Angeles, El Tacos in the Long Beach area, and Der Wienerschnitzel, a national hot dog chain.

Bell launched Taco Bell in 1962 in Downey after cutting ties with his business partners and quickly expanding around Los Angeles. He sold the first Taco Bell franchise in 1964. In 1978, Bell sold his 868 Taco Bell restaurants to PepsiCo for $125m in stock.

Taco Bell is now owned by Yum! Brands and is the largest Mexican fast-food chain in the US, serving more than 36.8 million customers each week in more than 5,600 locations.

David Gerber

David Gerber, who died on 2 January aged 86, was a producer who won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for his television shows. Gerber won Emmys for the popular series Police Story and Police Woman, as well as producing many award-winning TV films.

His other executive producer credits include The Ghost & Mrs Muir, Nanny and the Professor, Cade's County, Riker, Walking Tall, Today's FBI, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Lady Blue and Jack & Mike. He was also executive producer of the 2006 made-for-TV docudrama Flight 93. During a long career he was president of the TV division of three major studios, 20th Century-Fox, Columbia Pictures, and MGM.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gerber served as a radio gunner in the Second World War. His B-17 was shot down over Germany and he became a prisoner of war. His hobby was his 100-acre vineyard in Northern Califorinia, where he produced his brand of Laraine wines, a tribute to his wife, the actress Laraine Stephens.