William Rosenberg, 86, the food franchising pioneer who...

Deaths Elsewhere

September 23, 2002

William Rosenberg, 86, the food franchising pioneer who founded the Dunkin' Donuts chain and saw it spread from coast to coast and into 37 countries, died Friday of bladder cancer at his home in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod.

After World War II, Mr. Rosenberg had cashed in $1,500 in war bonds and borrowed an additional $1,000 to start a business serving coffee, pastries and sandwiches to factory workers.

He opened his first coffee and doughnut shop, called the Open Kettle, in Quincy, Mass., in 1948. The name was changed to Dunkin' Donuts two years later. The company is the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain, with about 5,000 locations.

"He had a passion for quality that he instilled in his organization and franchisees," said Jack Shafer, CEO of Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Togos. "He had an unrelenting focus on quality, like most entrepreneurs and founders, which is a wonderful thing to instill in an organization."

Born in Boston, Mr. Rosenberg demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. As a teen-ager during the Great Depression, he once carted a block of ice to a racetrack on a hot summer day and sold ice chips for 10 cents, bringing home $171.

After pioneering the use of the canteen truck -- a flip-open stainless-steel truck catering to factories and construction sites -- Mr. Rosenberg, noting most of his business came from coffee and doughnuts, decided to open a retail store. He bucked the typical practice of selling four varieties of doughnuts and sold 52 kinds.

In 1955, hoping to accelerate the growth of the business, Mr. Rosenberg began selling franchises to other people.

His son, Bob Rosenberg, kept the business growing and engineered the acquisition of Baskin Robbins and Togos, a sandwich chain, Mr. Shafer said. Dunkin' Donuts was acquired by British food and spirits conglomerate Allied Domecq in 1990.

Tony Martinez, 82, a stage actor who became known for his television work in the 1950s, died Sept. 16 at a Las Vegas hospital.

For television viewers, Mr. Martinez is best remembered for his role as Mexican farmhand Pepino Garcia in The Real McCoys from 1957 to 1963.

"He was just a natural, and he had this enormous sense of comedy timing," said Kathleen Nolan, star of the series and president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1975 to 1980, who called Mr. Martinez's casting "a major breakthrough in terms of minority representation on television."

"It may not have been the representation that we are seeking now, but it certainly was a breakthrough to have a major character on television that was not white," she said.

After his television stint, Mr. Martinez spent more than four decades playing Sancho Panza in 2,245 performances of Man of La Mancha, including the national company tour of the Tony Award-winning musical in the late 1960s and two national revival tours.

The actor first joined the national Man of La Mancha company in 1967 and over the years played opposite a dozen different Don Quixotes, including Richard Kiley, Jose Ferrer and Raul Julia.

Born in Puerto Rico, Mr. Martinez studied music in San Juan before moving to New York to attend Juilliard. A singer who played five instruments, he formed his own small band in New York in the 1940s, called Tony Martinez and His Mambo-USA. He was playing at a Hollywood club when he was discovered by the writing and producing team of Irving and Norman Pincus, who were looking for someone to play Pepino.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.