It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary Beverly Hills “Restaurateur To The Stars,” Jimmy Murphy.

The following biography has been released by the family of Mr. Murphy.

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JIMMY MURPHY

Jimmy Murphy, the founder of “Jimmy’s”, one of Beverly Hill’s most glamorous and popular restaurants, for over two decades, has died. He was 75. Jimmy died peacefully at home, surrounded by his extended family. He had been suffering from an extended battle of pancreatic cancer.

To see the number of high powered celebrities and politicians who made “Jimmy’s” their home away from home in Los Angeles was to witness the natural ease and grace with which Jimmy and Anne made guests feel at home, with all the elegance of the time. Entertainment and hospitality were in Jimmy’s blood from the outset. Born in Kilkenny, Ireland into a family of 8 children, Jimmy left home at 14 to start work at Dooley’s Hotel in neighbouring Waterford. Within a few years, he moved to London, where he began working and training at The Savoy Hotel, where he had his first brush with celebrity in the form of Charlie Chaplin and his wife Oona. (Several decades later, Jimmy would go on to produce the Broadway musical “Chaplin”, which is now touring the world.)

When Jimmy met his future wife Anne Power at a dance in Leicester Square in 1963, she was already planning to move to California. They fell in love quickly and Anne persuaded him to join her in Los Angeles, which he did before the end of that year. With the confidence of his experience at the Savoy under his belt, Jimmy quickly found work at the Bella Fontana restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. He moved from there to The Bistro, where he was Maitre D’ for 14 years. Johnny Carson, Bob Newhart and Don Rickles were customers of The Bistro, who persuaded Jimmy to go out on his own. Eventually, Jimmy and Bill Gould put together an investment group and leased a 10,000 square foot car park in Beverly Hills, which Jimmy and Anne went about designing as his signature restaurant, “Jimmy’s”.

The doors opened in 1978 and “Jimmy’s” instantly became a big hit among socialites, business executives and the entertainment industry. Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor became regulars, so did Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It was a place where anything could and did happen and where people came and spent the whole night, from early evening cocktails to after dinner piano bar.

Always true to his Irish heritage, Jimmy hosted many emerging and established Irish stars making their way in Hollywood. The producer Noel Pearson, director Jim Sheridan and actors like Liam Neeson, Richard Harris, Roma Downey, Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne came to the restaurant. The American Ireland Fund made “Jimmy’s” their West Coast HQ. Jimmy started the first annual St Patrick’s Day parade in Beverly Hills, which he and Anne led for years. Such was their generosity to Irish newcomers and older Irish Americans like the Reagans, that a portion of the legendary Blarney Stone was given to Jimmy as a gift, which he put outside the front door of the restaurant.

The elegance of the French themed food and the classic surroundings at “Jimmy’s” were hallmarks of another era, but the friendliness and lack of pretension among the very discreet and diplomatic staff remained timeless and essential.

Jimmy and Anne were such natural hosts, at ease with everyone they met. Restaurant trends and fads came and went in Los Angeles, but Jimmy Murphy never wavered from the high standards of service, cuisine, friendliness and elegance that made Jimmy’s so iconic and welcoming for 22 years. He stood by his motto of “Elegance will never die.”

In 2000, he sold “Jimmy’s”, deciding to change direction. After decades of catering to the world of show business, Jimmy decided to invest in a musical on the life of Charlie Chaplin. This came to fruition in September 2012 and is now touring the world.

In an interview with The Daily Mail last year he said, “I’ve been connected to show business all my working life, catering to everyone form A list actors to American presidents. When I was a very young man in the Savoy in London, Chaplin would come in and I had no idea his story would come to play a big part in my own life. It’s been fascinating and challenging and I love the way it’s all unfolded.”

Jimmy was an active member of the Good Shepherd Church and was involved with numerous Charitable Causes, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Foundation, Saint John’s Health Center which included the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon and The John Wayne Cancer Foundation and served on the board of the American Ireland Fund. He was honored with the Restaurant Industries’ 1983 Good Scout Award which benefitted the L.A. Area Council of the Boy Scouts. Jimmy’s response really hit the target of the Boy Scouts philosophy, “Work hard and make your dreams come true.”

Jimmy Murphy is survived by his wife of 50 years, Anne, their three children Geraldine, Sean, Jamie, son in law Chuck Weiner  and grandchildren Brandon and Charlotte.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donation be made on behalf of Jimmy Murphy to Sister Alice Marie Quinn, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Foundation. 2200 West Third Street, Suite 200; Los Angeles, CA 90057-1935.

Please Note: Service arrangements are as follows

Rosary Vigil
Friday, Feb 7, 2014
7pm
Good Shepherd Church
505 North Bedford Drive BH, CA 90201

Funeral Services
Saturday Feb 8, 2104
11am
Good Shepherd Church
505 North Bedford Drive BH, CA 90201

Followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City CA

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