Creator of McDonald’s iconic Big Mac dies at 98
You probably don’t know his name, but you’ve almost certainly devoured his creation: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.
Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, the McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it become perhaps the bestknown fast-food burger in the world, died on Monday at home in Pittsburgh. Delligatti, who according to his son ate at least one 540-calorie Big Mac a week for decades, was 98.
Delligatti’s franchise was based in Uniontown, not far from Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain’s signature burger in 1967 after deciding customers wanted a bigger sandwich. Demand exploded as Delligatti’s sandwich spread to the rest of his 47 stores in Pennsylvania and was added to the chain’s national menu in 1968.
“He was often asked why he named it the Big Mac, and he said because Big Mc sounded too funny,” his son Michael Delligatti said.
McDonald’s has sold billions of Big Macs since then, in more than 100 countries. When the burger turned 40, McDonald’s estimated it was selling 550 million Big Macs a year, or roughly 17 every second. Delligatti received no payment or royalties for coming up with the burger, the company said.
In addition to his two sons, Jim Delligatti is survived by his wife, Ellie, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.