Maurice Kanbar obituary (94 yo)

Mar 01, 1929 - Aug 20, 2022


7 months ago · Businessmen · 115

He became a hectic inventor, entrepreneur and investor (movie theaters, real estate, a “super meals” and more) whose Skyy Vodka became, he claimed, hangover-free.

Maurice Kanbar was hoping to meet ladies whilst he accompanied a pal to a dude ranch one week inside the early Nineteen Sixties. His red sweater vest might not were the most desirable cloth wardrobe preference, but while it stuck at the concrete wall he changed into leaning in opposition to one evening, he noticed it had snagged the fuzz balls that were accumulating at the wool.

As he recalled years later, he turned into extra interested by how successfully the wall had removed the fuzz than in the dating opportunities earlier than him, and while he got domestic to Brooklyn he got down to make a tool that would do the equal issue. He had studied chemistry in college, and he played round with aluminum oxide crystals (what sandpaper is made from) glued to a bit of material stapled to a chunk of wood until he had a crude, but effective, defuzzing tool.

He stored his cash via scrimping on dates (his mom wouldn’t lend him the $1,2 hundred it value to make a proper mould for a greater refined version of his product due to the fact she thought it changed into a dumb idea), made a prototype and named it; he imagined “Balls Off” would be a winner, but pals persuaded him to go together with “D-Fuzz-It Sweater and Fabric Comb.” He stated he offered $2 hundred,000 worth of the combs that first yr.

Mr. Kanbar, who would go directly to create, among other things, a protection sheath for used hypodermic needles, a cryogenic cataract remover and Skyy Vodka, which he claimed became a hangover-unfastened product, died on Aug. 20 at his domestic in San Francisco. He changed into 93.

His brother and best on the spot survivor, Elliott Kanbar, confirmed the death, which became no longer widely suggested on the time.

Another of Maurice Kanbar’s creations was unveiled in 1972, when he became a small property he owned on West 13th Street in Manhattan right into a film residence with four theaters tucked internal, which he named the Quad. When it opened in October, the Quad confirmed three modern-day movies — “Play It Again, Sam,” “Butterflies Are Free” and “Slaughterhouse-Five” — and the 1943 musical “The Gang’s All Here,”

He in the beginning claimed to have invented the multiplex theater, even though in truth, as he later discovered, there have been others; a Kansas City theater owner, Stanley Durwood, who started slicing up his film homes in the early Nineteen Fifties, typically gets the credit score. But the Quad turned into New York’s first, and it became an organization (and a favorite haunt of Ed Koch, the city’s 3-time period mayor, who lived a few blocks away) loved for its overseas and impartial movie services — a market-driven choice, because Mr. Kanbar had trouble competing with the larger uptown theaters for extra mainstream fare.

His maximum beneficial innovation became no longer patented, however it had a compelling beginning tale and made him a multimillionaire.

When he complained that spirits like bourbon and cognac gave him a headache, his health practitioner advised him to interchange to vodka. When he reported that he was still getting complications even after one drink, his health practitioner explained that the vodka he become drinking probably contained congeners, which can be the herbal byproducts of the distilling manner that give a few human beings headaches. Mr. Kanbar employed a distiller who discovered how to do away with them and started out to sell a vodka he named Skyy (the unusual spelling supposed the name can be trademarked), pitching it to bartenders and reporters in San Francisco, wherein he had moved in 1984.

“Not too many accurate ideas come after drinking multiple screwdrivers,” Robert Slager of The San Francisco Examiner wrote whilst he mentioned on Skyy’s beginning in 1992. When Mr. Kanbar saw David Letterman brandishing it on his late-night time speak display, he wrote in “Secrets From an Inventor’s Notebook,” posted in 2001 by way of Council Oak Books (a publishing business enterprise he befell to very own), he knew he had successful. In 2001, he offered most of his stake in Skyy to the Campari Group, the Italian distillery, for a pronounced $207.5 million.

Maurice Kanbar became born Moshe Shama on March 1, 1929, in what turned into then Palestine and emigrated with his family to the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1936. His father, Meier Shama, became a residence painter; his mother, Hana Kanbar Shama, was a chef who labored in motels and summer season camps. Moshe and his brothers’ first names had been Americanized, and when they had been older they started the usage of their mom’s delivery name.

Maurice studied chemistry and engineering at the Philadelphia Textile Institute, which later became Philadelphia University. His first commercial enterprise had been Harmaur Photographers, which he and a pal, Harvey Roer, started out whilst Maurice was 13 and Harvey was 12. (They took snap shots of the buddies’ youngsters.) In the overdue Nineteen Fifties, they ran a textile enterprise known as the Spandex Corporation, which made the stretchy synthetic fiber invented through Dupont but sold it at a lower rate.

After moving to San Francisco, Mr. Kanbar invested in real estate there and made news for evicting longtime tenants of a constructing he owned. He additionally offered $a hundred million really worth of property in Tulsa, Okla., and invested in a tea agency in Hawaii, among other ventures.

And he produced movies, appreciably “Hoodwinked,” a 2005 animated reworking of the Little Red Riding Hood tale that did quite well at the container office, and its sequel, “Hoodwinked Too!” (2011), which did not. He was a generous donor, more often than not to academic establishments, consisting of the Cooper Union, New York University and Philadelphia University, to which he gave $21 million in 2014.

Mr. Kanbar held some three dozen patents, along with one for a swizzle stick that converts to a pair of magnifying glasses. There had been some flops — a gentle drink crafted from eighty percentage cola and 20 percentage food regimen cola changed into one example — in addition to some innovations still in the marketplace that many clients may never have heard of, like SooFoo (quick for Super Good Food), a grain product crafted from lentils, brown rice, barley and different grains; Tangoes, a puzzle game; and Zip Notes, a roller dispenser for Post-it-style notepaper. He additionally trademarked the name Wagel, for an idea for a healthful bagel, however in no way added it to market.

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Funeral date

Jan 01 2023, 12:00
San Francisco, California, U.S